I will never be able to look at another fig or font the same again. Here’s my submission for the fabulous site They Draw and Cook (please go see it if you haven’t, it’s so fun). They’re holding a contest (tonight in the deadline, winners are announced Friday) to illustrate a recipe using figs. They’re big fans of typography, so I thought I’d have a go at doing the lettering all by hand. Oh my, what a headache that gave me!
March 21, 2011
March 21, 2011
This book is pleasurable on so many levels. For one, the story is hilarious. Two, the illustrations are fabulous. And three, this book will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first book I’ve read by this author/ illustrator and I always get a kick out of discovering someone new to me that’s great. Also, for some God only knows reason, the library was getting rid of this copy (one IN PERFECT CONDITION) and I was able to buy it! So hurrah for me (and I hope it was just an extra copy so library patrons can still see it).
The book is Buttons by Brock Cole.
The fairy-tale book setup is a father eats too much and pops 3 buttons from his “britches” in the fire. Everything is super exaggerated in this story, so the father acts like his world has fallen to pieces. His wife enlists the help of his three daughters; the eldest — the beauty, the middle — the strong and tall one, and the youngest — the ditz. One by one they think of the most difficult way in which to procure buttons for their grieving father that employs their natural talents. The description of the youngest, by the way, is a hoot — “She was young and rabbity and still picked her nose when no one was looking.” Her plan is the least likely to succeed and her own mother privately “had her doubts, but since the older girls had such marvelous ideas, it hardly seemed to matter what the youngest did.”
One of the girls miraculously succeeds, and the way she does and the way the others fail is wonderful stuff. It’s all very fun silliness, plus it includes elements of romance and love (each girl manages to procure a husband in this tale, if not a button) and is told in a very serious sort of old-fashioned tone that matches the 1800′s period of the book.
The watercolor and ink illustrations of the gloriously long ago setting in some non-specific land are so wonderfully expressive and full of life. One of my favorite scenes occurs after the set-up of the story where the three girls are about to put their plans to action. The double spread image draws the eldest walking along a bridge in costume, the middle one signing up for the army, and the youngest heading out a doorway away from the bustling courtyard. And is it ever bustling! Cole is great at capturing multitudes of people. The single line of text for this illustration reads, “And now we shall hear what happened to them all.” Even before you get to that cute line, you really want to hear what happens.
This is my library pick of the week.
And if you like this one, check out the wonderful book George Washington’s Teeth, also illustrated by Cole. It’s another recent discovery.