Monday, 22 May 2017

Time Goes By • Abie Longstaff

I love picture books that give a sense of time moving - especially those where the seasons change in the background.

In 'Dear Daddy' by Philippe Dupasquier, Sophie writes to her father who is away at sea.

It's a very sophisticated picture book. Using a clever split-scene layout, it shows us both Daddy's and Sophie's world, and deals with complicated conceptual ideas of time. Children can see that the seasons change for Sophie but not for her father, who is in a different time-zone. All this is accomplished in remarkably few words due to Dupasquier's busy, detailed illustration style.

This was one of my favourite pages. It shows the split screen of the season where Sophie is, and above where her dad is. My sisters and I loved it because we grew up in Hong Kong, which is depicted in the upper section.

Across the Fairytale Hairdresser series, Lauren Beard and I do have the seasons change, but I've never managed it in one single book - and I'd love to try!

It's summer in The Fairytale Hairdresser and Aladdin

And winter in The Fairytale Hairdresser and Father Christmas
For me, the most beautiful book showing seasonal change is 'I am a Bunny' by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry.

My mother read this book to me, and I read it to my own children. It is a perfect example of a simple, yet exquisite, picture book - one where poetry meets art. I find it almost meditative in quality and very moving. Nicholas, the bunny, has a real appreciation for his world, and the illustrations reflect this:

I suppose I'm thinking about seasons, and change, because I'm moving on from the Picture Book Den. I've loved being a part of the Den for years now and I'm sorry to go; but it feels right to have a change. I'm sure I'll be popping up somewhere else soon but for now: thanks to my fellow Denners, and to readers of the blog.

See you around! :)


Jonathan Emmett said...

I can't think of any seasonal picture books, but my son used to love poring over a Philippe Dupasquier book about an airport. I'd forgotten all about it until I saw this post.

Sorry to see you go, Abie, but the best of luck with your future endeavours.

Michelle Robinson said...

I share your affection for 'I am a Bunny', it's absolutely wonderful. Every home and school should have a copy. Really looking forward to following your adventures beyond the Den x

Pippa Goodhart said...

Lovely old books, Abie, and your own beautiful new ones, of course. I wonder if I Am A Bunny would be too 'quiet' to get published now, but it is magical.
We're going miss you! Do butt in with guest blogs whenever you have something to say!

Lynne Garner said...

Firstly - Fab post as ever. Sorry you are leaving us. I've always looked forward to your posts. I hope all goes well and if you ever want to do a post for the den you know where we are.

Secondly - My first picture book 'A Book For Bramble' is about a mouse who records what happens over one winter whilst his friend Bramble the hedgehog hibernates. It was written with friendship in mind but thinking about it time passing is also a big part of the story.

Enid Richemont said...

You have just located my son's favourite picture book! Because we always called it Nicholas Bunny, that title remained in my mind ever after, so the original title got lost. I am thrilled to re-discover it here. Now naybe you can locate the one that began: 'Today was a very funny day'? American, I think, and pure poetry.

Abie Longstaff said...

Thanks guys :)
We called it 'Nicholas Bunny' too, Enid.

Paeony Lewis said...

'Pussy Willow' was my childhood favourite for seasons(by Margaret Wise Brown, and back then the illustrations were by Leonard Weisgard and not the garish illus of the current edition). With my own children I remember dwelling on the endpapers of 'Farmer Duck' (Waddell/Oxenbury) that show the same image but for two different seasons. Plus I adore Laura Dronzek's illustrations in 'When Spring Comes'(2016).
Good luck with all your new books, Abie - have enjoyed blogging with you for over five years.

Lucy Rowland said...

I've loved reading your blogs Abie. Thank you! And good luck with your future books and adventures!