Delightful new picture books

We’ve been getting some delightful new picture books in the library lately.  Alot of picture books just pass you by, but every now and again there are some that stand out, whether that’s because it’s the latest book by a great author and illustrator or from a stand-out publisher.  Here’s just a couple of the latest and greatest.

Your Mother Didn’t Do That is a delightful New Zealand collaboration between author Sharon Holt and Brian Lovelock, the illustrator of the New Zealand Post Book Awards finalist book, Roadworks.  Holly’s dad decides to tell her a bedtime story about the night that she was born so Holly asks if she hatched out of an egg like a chicken.  Dad tells her if she were a new chick, her mum would have fluffed up her feathers and sat on her to keep her warm.  He tells her ‘Your mother wouldn’t do that.’  They go through all the animals they can think of until Holly’s dad finally tells her what her mother did do when she was born.  It’s a perfect bedtime story about the bond between mothers and their babies, and Brian Lovelock’s soft illustrations perfectly match the story.

My first impression of Ulf Nilsson’s When We Were Alone in the World was ‘What the?’  It starts with a boy who is waiting at the front gate of his school for his parents to pick him up.  He has just learnt to tell the time and he knows that he gets picked up at 3 o’clock.  When his Dad doesn’t arrive he walks home.  He gets home to find that the door to his house is locked and his parents are nowhere to be seen.  He comes to the conclusion that they are dead, probably run over by a truck, and so he sits on the steps and cries.  ‘I wasn’t even six years old and I was alone in the world,’ he says.  I thought this was a little strange considering it’s a children’s picture book, and so I had to keep reading to find out how the story ended.  I won’t give the ending away (you’ll just have to read it to find out) but needless to say, it’s positive.  It is actually quite a clever story that is warm and funny, especially at the end when you realise what has happened.  When We Were Alone in the World is another fantastic Gecko Press publication.  If you haven’t already discovered some of their translations of ‘curiously good books from around the world,’ we have a great selection of them in the library.  Also, if you loved Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop’s Snake and Lizard, look out for Friends: Snake and Lizard, coming in October.

The quest for clarity – Riduan Tomkins

Book cover Riduan Tomkins painter, teacher and ardent traveller died recently after a prolonged illness. Tomkins, born in Dorset in 1941, studied at The Royal College of Art in London and was visiting Senior Lecturer, then permanent Senior Lecturer in Painting at the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts between 1986-1996. He is credited with influencing a generation of New Zealand artists including Séraphine Pick currently exhibiting at the Christchurch Art Gallery and Shane Cotton.

His work is characterised by fresh, clean colours and often featured tiny figures overlaid with paint and engaged in a variety of actions: flying or falling, juggling and hanging etc. These figures anchor the lines, shapes and colours and deliver paintings that successfully fuse abstract and figurative elements. His work is held in numerous private and public collections in North America, South America, Europe, South East Asia and New Zealand.

On leaving New Zealand, Tomkins taught in Ontario, Canada and at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London before relocating to Jakarta, Indonesia. After a period as guest artist at Jakarta Institute of Art, Riduan founded the Central Kalimantan Cultural Collective a non-profit organisation aiming to establish a Fine Arts programme at the University of Palangka Raya.

Sartorial eloquence

The sartorialistThe sartorialist is one of my favourite  blogs – Scott Schuman takes evocative portraits of people on the streets.  One of the cool things about it is it ain’t just young models, there’s many a shot of an older gentleman rocking a three piece suit, or a glamorous white bobbed madame. It’s all about style and what pleases his sense of what constitutes well-dressedness.

Now his book The sartorialist is out and it captures those moments of Sartorial eloquence. The timing is as impeccable as the clothes.  September is the most fashionable month – Air New Zealand Fashion Week takes place in Auckland from the 21st to the 26th September 2009 and New York, Paris and Melbourne also play host to their respective Fashion Weeks.

We’ve updated our fashion guide to link you with our many resources for the dedicated follower of fashion – books, magazines and web sites on the elements of style.