I am always (probably mis-)quoting Philip Pullman about books. In a BBC documentary a while ago he said that a book is second only to the wheel as the best piece of technology human beings have ever invented. You could break its spine or drop it in the bath, and it still works.
Book by David Mills taps into that idea. With books there are no bonus levels to find or viruses that can wipe it – just words and pictures that are transformed with a reader’s imagination. That is why I love books – because reading is an active thing (I’m always banging on about it): what you bring to the story matters. You, as reader, matter.
I thought that Book was perhaps a bit too obvious about what is isn’t – i.e. modern technology – but my kids didn’t pick up on that. They saw it for a reading of what a book is or can be – focussing on the positive, and how it is better than so many things and not just a broken screen etc. It is a gentle tale showing how wonderful reading is and we really liked it. We also really liked the illustrations.
There is so much to see in each illustration and lots to spark new ideas. For me, I found them to be a kind of beautified version of illustrations by Maurice Sendak. I know everyone loves his stuff but Where the Wild Things Are has always totally creeped me out. But these have beauty and intrigue – and definitely peril – but without the disturbing element I always see in his work. Maybe that’s just me, but I love these.
So, a lovely book about books with fantabulous (I am allowed to use that word as it’s my blog) illustrations. Check it out.