Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Picture Book is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

Peta Jinnath Andersen is an Online Consultant for Walker Books Australia. Her absolute, forever-and-ever favourite children's books are Guess How Much I Love YouA Bit LostHowl's Moving CastleA Wrinkle in Time, A Monster Calls, and Winnie-the-Pooh. 

The Children's Book Council of Australia short-listed books for 2013 were announced yesterday, and we're thrilled to see three Walker titles on the short-list and four in notable mentions!


The Wrong Boy, by Suzy Zail, (Older Readers Short List 2013)
Other Brother, by Simon French, (Younger Readers Short List 2013)
Python, by Christopher Cheng and Mark Jackson, (Eve Pownall Award for Information Books Short List 2013)

Notable mentions:

Cinnamon Rain by Emma Cameron (Older Readers Notables 2013) 
Black Spring by Alison Croggon (Older Readers Notables 2013)
Violet Mackerel’s Personal Space by Anna Branford, Illustrated by Sarah Davis (Younger Readers Notables 2013)
In the Lion by James Foley (Picture Book Notables 2013)

Two of the books recognised are picture books: Python, which is part of our Nature Storybooks series, and In the Lion, a playful picture book with a wry sense of humour. And Violet Mackerel's Personal Space, although not technically a picture book, is illustrated fiction.

There's something about seeing illustrated work recognised - it's so often undervalued. It's assumed to be easy to create; some even assume picture books are written inside a couple of hours. And yet, there's another, less obvious thing most of us forget when considering the picture book: how difficult it us to marry story and illustration effectively.

Many picture books are created by two people - an author and an illustrator. Sometimes these two meet; other times they work across borders, even countries. And although both people are storytellers, their media are vastly different.

Author-illustrators, despite working on both pieces of the book, are also pulling together two disparate things - even though the words and the pictures tell the same story, they complement each other and are not repetitive. 

Illustrated works are surely greater than the sum of their parts, and one of the joys of seeing our illustrated work recognised is seeing others appreciate the marriage of two ideas - and often multiple media - into a cohesive whole. 

1 comment:

  1. A picture book is the very essence of art and literature combined. It’s an often massive and complex concept, distilled and refined through the process of an author and illustrator pouring their combined energy and passion into a crucible of hard work which eventually delivers the alchemical result of those four hundred or so words and fifteen or so images. MAGIC!