Review Blog

May 23 2014

What's your favourite animal? by Eric Carle and friends

cover image

Walker Books, 2014. ISBN 9781406356519
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Animals. Asking his friends to illustrate their favourite animal has resulted in this lovely book of the illustrations of fourteen people, whose animals each cover a double page. Each artist uses their own style to create their animal, starting with Carle, using his well known block ink, cut out and crayon technique to create a cat. He goes on to say why he chose a cat as his animal.
The royalties from the sales of this book will be used to help support The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Massachusetts. Photos of Carle working with children at the centre are on the last double page along with a photo of the centre itself and the double page before has biographies of each of the contributors. The biographical notes along with each illustration will recall for the readers the pictures and books they have seen by these illustrators, bringing a new recognition of the different styles and techniques used by these people. In a classroom where technique is discussed and noted along with the story this volume will be a boon, underscoring the relationship between the words and the pictures.
In a book crammed with a feast of talent it is difficult to pick out a few of note, but some that stand out for me include Lucy Cousins' leopard, Steven Kellogg's cows, Jon Klassen's duck and Lane Smith's elephant. Each is distinctive and recognisable, full of wry humour and the impulse is to then search out other books by these people. But that goes for the whole book. And an extra treat was taking off the sleeve to find the illustrations reprised on the hard cover beneath. Fran Knight

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