Another factual entry: The Tree, created by Pascale de Bourgoing & Gallimard Jeunesse publishers, illustrated by Christian Broutin, translated by Sarah Matthews (Moonlight, 1990). This is a crisply illustrated book with a gimmick of transparent overlays partly hiding the pictures underneath. The final page brings us full circle: “Wood shavings, crushed and squeezed together, made wood pulp. Wood pulp makes paper. With that paper, you can make a book … about trees!”
A beautiful miniature hardback book, Ein Buch vom Buch (“A Book from the Book”; Terra, 2006) is the story (in German) of how a book is made, with photographs from inside a publishing house and a print shop augmented by this friendly fellow. The cover is appropriately and wonderfully recursive.
Fourteen Rats & A Rat-Catcher (by Tamasin Cole, story by James Cressey; Puffin, 1979) is a charming tale, or rather two tales, about fourteen tails. On the left-hand pages, an old lady lives in a cottage in the forest and is troubled by rats. On the right-hand pages, a family of rats lives under the floor and is troubled by the old lady.
These are, as you can see, very intelligent rats, and they can read:
Wish them luck.
I have this little book by Lauren Child. It is small and very funny … at least, I have every confidence it will be when I read it, but for now Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? (Hodder, 2002) will have to wait until my daughter knows the stories on which it is based and is comfortable with the sophisticated idea of entering a story. Till then, we can all enjoy the picture-within-a-picture-within-a-picture on the front cover.
This is an unusual one. We found Shopping with Dad by Matt Harvey and Miriam Latimer (Barefoot, 2008) on a visit to the excellent children’s cafe Beanies in Croydon. Barefoot Books are always positive and inclusive and so it was a pleasure to read about a dad who isn’t useless, though he does end up at the centre of a mess on a shopping expedition for weatherbread and dangerjam.
At the end of the adventure, dad and daughter return home to mum, who is busy, not reading, but – like Escher – drawing herself in the act of drawing herself: