We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
What is it that is made of rags and bones, soot and seeds, bound in leather? This picturebook biography will tell you.
Written and Illustrated by James Rumford
Published by Flash Point (2012)
Borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
I have always been fascinated by all things books: from the seeds of the idea to the actual process of book-making to the marketing and distribution until it finally reaches a reader’s hands, enjoyed and relished for everything it contains.
This picturebook biography of Johannes Gutenberg who “changed the world” extends the discourse even further through a series of riddles that capture the painstaking effort and the enormous amount of time, energy, and resource it took to create that which we hold in our hands: the printed book.
Through a medieval-inspired narrative layout, the reader is transported back to the 15th century when rags and bones are needed to create paper, and soot and seeds become the ink to mark those precious pages.
It boggles the mind how the printing press was first created – each of the letter facing backward, with expensive coloured powders, and a gold leaf – the entire thing operated by a machine “as strong as a giant.”
Times have indeed changed from when Gutenberg assembled rags, bones, soot, seeds, sprinkled with gold leaf to make a book. It’s no wonder that books were considered very precious commodities during this time, with only the very wealthy and influential people who can afford them.
The detailed Epilogue at the end of the book provides even more context and background information about Johannes Gutenberg and the things of beauty that he created during this period. I was also able to find this Youtube video that demonstrates the entire painstaking process of book-making. Enjoy!
#LitWorld2018GB Update: Johannes Gutenberg is from Germany.