May 19, 2014

Fragmented Narratives

Within four months of each other, two beautiful books were published recently that have made me rethink the importance of cohesion in narrative and illustration. Blexbolex's Ballad and Magali Bardos' 100 Bears both strongly recall one another: both have non-traditional narratives with eye-catching, silk-screened illustrations, and both tell multiple stories over the course of their narratives that inevitably weave together by the end of the book. I say non-traditional narratives because every new page features a fragmented sentence (sometimes only one word) that builds on the last sentence or word. Every page builds on last, and the textual and visual narratives each book creates are absolutely stunning.

Ballad is written and illustrated by the amazingly talented French comics illustrator Blexbolex. He has a smattering of children's books, but Ballad definitely stands out as a work of beauty. Ballad tells the story of a boy who walks home the same way every day from school, but one day his world expands rapidly, growing into a fantasy with witches, princesses, and reluctant heroes.

Bardos' 100 Bears is a concept book that teaches numbers. Like Ballad, each page features a number between 1-100 that tells the story of a group of bears trying to outwit a group of hunters. Unlike a traditional number book, the whole book is part of one story, and a few seemingly unrelated story lines eventually merge at the end to conclude the overall narrative. 

My camera doesn't do any of these illustrations justice--the illustrations are rich, vibrant, and beautifully layered.

I love this type of book--can anyone think of anything similar?

Fragmentedly yours,

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