Wednesday, May 13, 2009
An extremely weird (and beautiful) picture book
My dear friend Alexandra went to Mexico a few weeks ago, in the midst of the initial outlandish swine flu panic-mongering, no less, and she brought us back (in addition to an awesomely wicked devil's head mask made out of a horse's jaw bone), a really weird and beautiful picture book. It's in Spanish, and it's called "El aprendizaje amoroso" (what does that mean? The amorous students? The lovers of learning? What?) but it's originally a French publication, written by Laetitia Bourget and illustrated by Emmanuelle Houdart, and it's a book that we oughtn't expect to see picked up in the US any time soon. Why?
Too weird for Americans. There's stuff like this:
Penises don't go over well in American children's books--not even juvenile penises. Did you know that In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak has been challenged (perhaps actually even banned, does anyone know?) because of this illustration:
Gadzooks! A tiny penis! Children must not learn of the existence of such things! It's so silly. No, it's beyond silly. It's absurd. But anyway.
I don't know what the text of this book says; it's in Spanish, but the art is so strange and beautiful. Look, there's peeing:
And balancing on miniature elephants:
When I travel, I love to buy children's books in other languages, and if possible, in other alphabets. However, it can be a challenge to find books actually published in those countries. Often you see familiar US or UK books translated into those languages, and that's just not the same.
Awesome new items continue to be added to the Bridget Zinn auction -- including a manuscript critique by Nancy Mercado of Roaring Brook Press, and a radio show interview (for published authors) with Irene Rawlings, on her Clear Channel program. Isn't that cool? I've also gotten word that Bridget's amazing agent, Michael Stearns, formerly editorial director at HarperCollins Children's Books, is also donating a manuscript critique! These opportunities to get your manuscript before some top industry professionals are just golden. Michael's donation is not posted yet, but keep checking.
Posted by Laini Taylor at 4:49 PM