Old Tales, New Views

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One of the reasons I think books will never be outdated is because book makers and publishers keep coming up with innovative ways of using the form. I’m delighted by the work of illustrator Clementine Sourdais who has taken the tales Little Red Hood by the Grimm Brothers and Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault and breathed new life into them.

Using crisp cut-outs and the accordion form, these books unfold into a magical presentation that draws children in.  I used them to lure my young friends Monica (age 8) and Karishma (age 7) away from the computer.  Both girls not only enjoyed the stories, but found the books fascinating.

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They use the classic, wordy telling of these stories, but they both held the girls’ interest.  They loved the ingenuity of the cat in Puss in Boots.pib_page02

The snipping open of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, and his inevitable death, was macabre, but compared to what they see on television and other media, it’s not so shocking.  It gave us a brief moment to talk about scary things and self-defense.  I talked to them about how people generally have different feelings about animals than people did when the story was written.  And real wolves aren’t out looking to have grandmothers and little girls for lunch. lrrh_page01

Metaphorical wolves are a different matter, and that may be a conversation to have when they are older.  Stories like these seem simple, but they’re doorways to talk about more complex issues. lrrh_back

The real fun came when I got out the flash light, turned off the lights and projected the pages on to the walls.  There was a whole new shadowy way of enjoying the books.  They immediately wanted to take over the flashlight and projection.  We had to adjust the angle of light, figure out the scenes, and then we each told part of the stories from memory.pib_page01 lrrh_page02Later, the girls used the books to make a maze, where telling part of the stories helped them find their way through.  It was interesting to hear the mash-up of stories.  I loved it when the ogre from Puss in Boots had to deal with the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood.pib_backThe illustrator Clémentine Sourdais studied at the Mediterranean College of Art and Design in Marseille and the École nationale supériure des beaux-arts in Lyon. She has already brought her signature illustration style to several books that have been ­published in France: Mes ­maisons du monde (My Houses in the World), Tout sur le ­printemps (All about Spring), and Tout sur l’été (All about Summer). She lives and works in Lyon.

Little Gestalten publishes book from all over the world and is committed to George Bernard Shaw’s idea to “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”  They’re publishing amazing books that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.  Check them out here.

Thanks for reading my blog.

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8 thoughts on “Old Tales, New Views

    1. Thanks for the repost. I hope to do more posts on books arts, including pop-ups and book sculptures. (I encourage anyone reading this to visit Sue’s blog. She does amazing art work :))

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