March 19, 2017

PEN PALS

Alexandra Pichard's Pen Pals is the endearing story of an ant named Oscar who is set up with an octopus named Bill through his school's pen pal system. Despite some rather significant (and hilarious) differences, the two become fast friends, and their story is told through the letters they write each other.



The design of the book is clean and straightforward. Oscar the ant consistently stays on the verso page with his blue letters (which look like folded letters!) on the recto, and Bill the octopus does the reverse, with his yellow letters on the verso. Pichard also uses the white space surrounding each character well, making the visual story extra funny to pay attention to. Though both characters start off with stark white backgrounds, they begin to evolve as they become littered with the gifts Bill and Oscar send to each other. In his letter, Bill thanks Oscar for the mittens but laments the fact that there are only six, and it's funny to see which tentacles Bill chooses for his mittens. Likewise, Oscar receives a tube of sunscreen from Bill, but it's four-times Oscar's size, so it stands out amongst the white background. It makes for a fun parallel to the text and a unique way to get to know the characters in their environments despite the fact that they remain fairly stationary the entire time.



Pen Pals published earlier this year from Aladdin!