June 3, 2013

Illustrator Spotlight: Emily Gravett

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I just got back from LA so it's been very whirlwindy for me...

Having been a fan of Emily Gravett for many years, I've decided to spotlight her here! Have you seen her work? It’s incredible. The texture, the funny storylines, the unique book designs…she’s fabulous. No joke, I own eleven of her books. Eleven. And I'm waiting for a twelfth in the mail. How many illustrators can you say that about?

Let’s start with my favorite: The Rabbit Problem. Ah, this book is wonderful. It’s set up like a calendar (I actually had it up for a year but I got nervous it might eventually hurt the book so I took it down), and each spread represents one month of the year. January features the “Lonely Rabbit,” who is clearly sad for lack of a mate. There’s even a card signed by the Lonely Rabbit that the reader can open inviting a friend to the field he’s sitting in. Flip to February and it seems he’s found his mate, but they are cold, and using each other for warmth. By March they have two babies, and the following months show the bunnies dealing with an exponentially increasing number of babies per spread. Of course on top of the ever-growing brood the frazzled parents have to deal with downpours of rain, bouts of hunger, angry crows, and overcrowding. Each page is littered with holes that go through to the next page, smaller books for the reader to open, and notes on various subjects written into the calendar. And of course there’s a huge pop-up at the end. Here are a couple of spreads:

I’m telling you, it’s fabulous.

If I had to pick my second favorite it’d have to be Spells. It’s just as interactive and creative as The Rabbit Problem, and tells the story of a frog who creates a spell from a torn up spell book that he hopes will change his life for the better. The interchangeable spreads in the middle allow the reader to turn him into any combination of animals imaginable, from half frog, half rabbit, to half bird, half snake. The ending is just as magical and, again, makes me question how her books “don’t sell.” Here are some of those spreads:

The Odd Egg features a similar interior spread with interchangeable flaps in the middle:

Her other books are just as creative and fresh. She has written and illustrated Monkey and Me, Dogs, Blue Chameleon, and Orange, Pear, Apple, Bear for slightly younger readers, and a ton of books for the slightly older picturebook reader like Wolves, Meerkat Mail, Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears, Again!, Matilda's Cat, and Wolf Won’t Bite! All are wonderful and have interactive features so everyone can have fun and take reading to the next level.

So the moral is buy Emily Gravett’s books. They’re awesome.

Gravett-ingly yours,

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