“Wild”. Liked the title and that happy cheerful girl on the cover with big curious eyes, bright smile, and that huge wild hair with intertwined forest flowers. This is an illustration of ourselves many years ago, before we grow up, become boring and adapted to the rules of the society. And this is an illustration of our children before we gradually build them a frame in the name of their well-being.
The young Emily Hughes (like Ella Frances Sanders, she is also in the beginning of her twentieth), has already realized that to be really happy in life, you have to stay true to yourself.
Her debut both as an author and illustrator tells a story about a girl, who grew up in the woods, surrounded by the love of nature. Animals, trees, flowers – they all are friends taking care of her. She is free, without complexes, and absolutely happy. One fine day however some concerned adults all of a sudden appeared in her life and turned it upside down. Worrying about her future, they decided to take her with them in the big city to raise her properly. What a lucky girl! Now in the civilization world she will learn to read, to eat with manners, to talk in an established way and most importantly, to comb her hair! The issue is not in knowledge. It is actually praiseworthy and highly appreciated. The problem is in the way we are enforced to acquire it. The expansion of our horizons is always connected with inner changes. And when it is against our will but in accordance to the others’ will, we lose our own road and start walking their paths. Instead to flourish in a wild colouful blossom, the grain of our originality wilts.
I do love books that contain message both for children and for adults. The lovely illustrated book of Emily with few precise words is exactly that type. Like that one of Oliver Jeffers. They are mainly addressed to children to convey them valuable life lessons but I think that such stories are always welcomed to adults too. To clean a little the dust from the wardrobe where we collect our experiences gathered through the years and recall some basic truths about life.
Don’t follow the rules of others. They may look more progressive, but this doesn’t mean they are more suitable for you. Be yourself, be wild!
Oliver Jeffers is one of those artists you can’t resist buying all his books. It is that combination of his talent to tell stories with the paint brush and just a few words as final strokes, that you can’t have enough of reading them. Though his illustrations are so expressive that even alone can narrate the stories, the unique sparkle of his tales is due to their fine coherence with a handful ingenious words.
His first illustrated book is called “How to Catch a Star” and was published in 2004. It was created as a project for his final year course work. He explained that it took him about a year, but obviously it was worth the effort, as he got a positive reply from the publishers Philomel Booksright away as he had sent it.
Oliver Jeffers – How to catch a star
And what it is about? It is a story of a boy who desires to have his own star. He tireless chases his dream figuring plans one after the other how to catch it. Climbing to the top of the tallest tree? Not tall enough. Use his rocket ship? It had run out of petrol last Tuesday when he flew to the moon. And so on, but unfortunately all of them with no success. Whenfinally, just when the boy is ready to give up, he learns that sometimes things aren’t where, or what, we expect them to be. He finds a starfish instead, floating in the waters, and became friends with it.
Though in general, Oliver Jeffers is ‘considered’ a children’s author/illustrator, I definitely recommend his works to the adults too. Exploring subjects like friendship, loneliness, independence, imagination and creativity, they bring back to mind some simple truths about life, we have left behind in the childhood.
Bunpei Yorifuji – Wonderful Life With the Elements
Bunpei Yorifuji is a Japanese artist and writer well-known in his country for his series of humorous ads for the Tokyo metro. The world fame however came with his funny and quirky book ‘ Wonderful Life with the Elements: The Periodic Table Personified‘. Picturing them in our human traits, he made them more understandable and easier to memorize. Most of us probably are not very keen on chemistry but this book opens a new vision in the education. Learning is much more productive when it is close to our lives, when there is something that looks familiar. Once you meet these characters, you could not forget them. Personification of difficult issues will not make us serious scientists but surely will help to understand them and keep in our brain cells for much longer period of time.