One of the reasons I think books will never be outdated is because book makers and publishers keep coming up with innovative ways of using the form.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.
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.
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. Later, 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.The 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.
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