Sunday 2 January 2011

Super Sunday #6 ♥

i know, i know... i've failed on the whole 'Super Sunday' thing over the past few weeks!

it's tricky though... i can always think of LOADS of people that deserve dedications but deciding who warrants an extra special 'Super Sunday' post is another matter entirely!

inspired by my shopping binge at the start of the week, i've decided to do a post on an artist, illustrator and writer whose work i adore!

so this weeks dedication goes out to a woman who i've been a MASSIVE fan of for the better part of the past six or seven years...

this week's Super Sunday post is all about the work of the fabulous, the super duper, the truly genius... Lauren Child

It is my personal belief that Lauren Child's books are some of the best, cleverest and most witty children's picture books I think i've ever read!

now for those of you unfamiliar with her work, in short... basically she is the creative genius behind the Charlie and Lola books

and if you haven't heard of Charlie and Lola, well basically... there's a little boy called Charlie and he has a little sister called Lola. 

they get into lots of adventures together and along with their best friends, Marv, Lotta, Sizzles the dog and Soren Lorenson (Lola's imaginary friend) 

they always manage to have heaps of fun together despite their age differences + the fact that Soren Lorenson is in fact... invisible and can only be seen by Lola!

When you read one of her stories you can practically hear Lola adamantly telling her brother Charlie that she is 'too absolutely small to go to school'. The way Lauren Child writes is the way a child of Lola's age would really speak, with tangled words and the most incredible imagination constantly working, trying to make sense of the world around her. 

her beautiful and clever style of illustration is also faultless, the characters are drawn in a way that instantly appeals to young children.

 i was introduced to these wonderful characters by my little god-daughter Bonnie

when Bonnie was tiny she used to love watching the Charlie and Lola animated series and as she got older she loved being read the stories as well. 

now Bonnie is old enough to read them herself and i just find it fascinating how a collection of picture books can capture a child's imagination so much that she still loves the characters even if her teachers seem to think she's a little too old for Charlie and Lola now!

Bonnie may be too old now but i've seen her, if it comes on the TV or if she's helping her little sister Hanna put stickers in the Charlie and Lola annual... she's right back to loving it all over again!

and i can't blame her! i'm nineteen and i LOVE the books! all of them, not just the Charlie and Lola stories, all of Lauren Child's books are amazing!

Lauren Child's characters, stories and illustrations are so perfect for the here and now and yet there's this undeniably timeless quality about them

the way she writes specifically for children and manages to make the illustrations fit so perfectly with the text, it may sound straightforward but it's a difficult thing to accomplish and a real rarity to get the balance so perfect in the world of children's picture books

most of the time a book has spot on illustrations but it's story is a little too hard to understand, or it's a book that can only be read to the child, the child couldn't necessarily do the reading by themselves. 

then the story might be fun for the child but the adult reading it might not understand properly, 
it's a fine balance yet Lauren's books manage to cater for everyone.

the child adores the pictures, the adult finds the story as amusing as the child... and everyone's happy!

as an illustrator myself i love the way the characters never quite look the same in every scene, their heads and eyes are often wonky, with simplified features since she colours the characters using wax crayons and coloured pencils mixed in with collage. 

this often gives the images a scratchy, messy child like quality... yet this is exactly what makes them so charming to look at.

the wonderful thing about Lauren's books is that whether the child can read it or not, they will sit totally entranced by one of her stories. yes they're looking at the pictures but they look at the words as well, even if they can't read them! 

the text flies and loops across the page imitating the movements of the characters or the sounds of the words, it spirals and curls around the illustrations and kids just love it!

the only problem is for the grown-up reading the story, sometimes you have to turn the book upside down to read the text but children tend to find this hilarious!

her books haven't only caught the hearts and imaginations of a generation of British kids, they've also been translated into several different languages.

although Charlie and Lola are, to me, a typically English pair of siblings, i can see how their stories and adventures could easily be played out by children of other cultures and nationalities across the globe.

but Charlie and Lola aren't the only characters Lauren Child has brought to life with her clever illustrations and stories

there's also...

Clarice Bean

then there's...

that Pesky Rat


Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent

not forgetting her truly gorgeous take on 'the Princess and the Pea'

and so sooooo many others...

* * *

and do you know what... i think that's it!

suffice to say... Lauren Child IS one of my idols

yes i know i told you that i don't have many (it's true) and i have LOTS of favourite illustrators but she is definitely an idol!

i aspire to achieve pretty much everything she has accomplished with her stories and illustrations!

i mean, there's a reason i gave a talk about her books at college + had a go at drawing in her style for my FMP research...

I think when a child looks through a Charlie and Lola book they are struck by just how much the pictures look like their own scribbled drawings.  

and yet if you really sit down and try to imitate her style, it's incredibly difficult!

so big BIG thanks to her for creating such super duper stuff!

for more info on Lauren Child, there's a wonderful interview article here - a life in books

and to see the official Lauren Child website, follow this link - Milk Monitor

oh and for the record... yes i may be nearly twenty-years-old but i happen to own precisely 13 picture books by Lauren Child and i imagine that collection will grow as she continues to bring out new books

after all... you're never really too old for a good picture book!!!

* * *

in other news... there isn't really any!

i've spent the past few days watching FAR too many Disney movies and singing along to FAR too many Disney songs...

i really will NEVER grow up!!!

so until next time, 

that's all folks...

 ◕‿◕ ★ xX


(that's thank you and goodbye in Japanese on behalf of Japan, i would absolutely love, love, LOVE to visit Japan and hopefully one day i'll get a chance to, thank you all )

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