I love the cozy, whimsical, slightly melancholy, illustrations in The Boy Who Grew Flowers (2005), which is cleverly written by Jen Wojtowicz and beautifully illustrated by Steve Adams. The cover depicts a pinkish boy with blushing cheeks, flowers in one hand, green shoes in the other. This is a love story about two children who are equally kind and, as we learn at the book’s end, share one of the same differences, which makes them perfectly normal to each other, and perfect for each other.
Prince and Knight (2018), written by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis, immediately reveals its affinity to fairy tales. The title page depicts a typical fairy tale cartography: a castle surrounded by water and the far simpler homes of villagers. This broad overview of every fairy tale landscape, located somewhere far away, quickly shifts to the castle itself, which is lit from the inside against a blue night sky. Unsurprisingly, the text that hovers over the castle reads: “Once upon a time, in a kingdom far from here…”. Continue reading
The first person narrative opens with an image of two boys holding hands while riding bikes. Oblivious to the world around them, the boys’ activity literally stops traffic, disrupting the normative flow of the adult world, much to the chagrin of the scowling drivers depicted in unmoving vehicles behind them. The text that accompanies Tallec’s illustration reads: “He always holds my hand./ It’s true./ Really tight.” Continue reading