It is relatively rare finding nonfiction titles that are not memoirs/biographies – but written in the first person, such that objects or occupations are reified, providing a more personalized vibe to the narrative. Two out of the three Little Gestalten nonfiction picturebooks featured here show how this can be done so effectively and successfully – allowing them to fit quite well into our current reading theme. Naturally, I just had to add the beautifully designed pop-up title, simply because.
Created by: Gérard Lo Monaco
Published by: Little Gestalten (2018)
ISBN: 9783899558012. Review copy provided by the publisher. Book photos from the publisher.
One of the first things my 16 year old daughter asked when she saw this book was: why is the shape of that book so strange? There is actually a reason for why this book is irregularly-shaped (often the bane of most librarians) – see below:
I am amazed at the overall design and engineering of this book – it literally turns into a carousel filled with colourful animals! Initially, I did not understand what the ribbon is for – until I saw the image above.
The text invites the young reader to go take a closer look at this exquisitely designed book that is more than just a pop-up book, as it actually transforms into a carousel. If you have a collection of pop-up books, this is definitely a not-to-be-missed addition.
Illustrated by: Dawid Ryski
Published by: Little Gestalten (2017)
ISBN: 3899557999 (ISBN13: 9783899557992). Review copy provided by the publisher. Book photos taken by me.
Unlike other nonfiction picturebook titles that depict different types of professions, or a who’s-in-your-neighbourhood or community type of reading material, this picturebook is very much in keeping with our time, showing various jobs that young children can aspire towards, regardless of their gender.
There are thirty professions shown here. As can be seen from the image above, the design of the book shows the trademark of Little Gestalten – with the usual two-dimensional type of art, with a lot of spaces for the eye to rest, and the layout of text and image superbly done.
I especially liked how each profession is personalized, kind of like a biography of each job – stepsister Helen is an architect, while cousin Mervin is a film director as noted in the image above. The text also manages to condense each job to its barest essential without necessarily oversimplifying it.
What makes this book stand out for me, though, is how it defies gender expectations at all levels, without making a huge hoopla about it – and simply indicating it as per normal. As seen in the images below, sister Tallulah is a Tattoo Artist while Grandma just happens to be a Mechanical Engineer.
The young reader also gets exposed to Carly who happens to be a Brewer – and while making beer may sound glamorous, it is clear how Carly needs to know a little bit about Chemistry for her work. Did I already say how progressive this book is?
While Grandma is a Mechanical Engineer as I noted in one of the images above, Mom is a Carpenter. These are tiny things that as a female adult, I don’t think I would ever take for granted.
With 30 professions to select from, children could now choose from the usual traditional occupations such as doctor and lawyer, but there’s also fitness trainer, carer, tattoo artist, archaeologist, motorcycle workshop owner – just to add a few to the usual jobs that children are exposed to. Find this book and share with as many young readers as you possibly could.
Written by: Steve Parker Illustrated by: Andrea De Santis
Published by: Little Gestalten (2018)
ISBN: 9783899557954. Review copy provided by the publisher. Book photos taken by me.
Theoretically, I am aware that there is poetry in space and that there is something infinitely magical about the universe – I’ve seen enough Cosmos episodes and read enough Ray Bradbury to render me in awe of the world we live in. However, most of the nonfiction titles about space are pretty straightforward (read: boring), unless they are biographies of famous astronauts or scientists. Hence, I was pleasantly surprised to read this title that made me quite riveted about scientific facts concerning space.
I think the trick lies in the first-person narrative (making this space book so perfect for our current reading theme on biographies/memoirs/self-constructed narratives, I mean, who would’ve thunk, like seriously?). As could be seen in the image above, Nebula introduces itself as a great wispy, misty cloud of gas and dust. How lovely is that.
Each full-page spread introduces a reified version of elements in outer space that no one would have thought of providing voice to. See Constellation above introducing itself so nicely.
What I especially enjoyed, though, is knowing more about how astronauts’ life in outer space is like: from their sleeping bags to their toothpaste to their toilets!
Wonderful books like these make me wistful – how I wish I had something like this when I was growing up. For parents and teachers of young readers, do make sure you get your hands on these lovely titles.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: 21/22 of 40: Dawid Ryski is from Poland, Gerard Lo Monaco is from Argentina.
Andrea De Santis is from Italy, Steve Parker is from the UK.