And that’s because the book itself doesn’t come out until late next month, and I don’t want to ruin the reading experience for you.
I’ll say this much, though:
Tallec was born in France and worked in advertising before doing children’s book illustration. He’s illustrated about sixty children’s books, many of them brought here to the States by Enchanted Lion Books, who have published this new one. In this, his first wordless picture book, he demonstrates—though he’s got a good track record with it already—his exceptional skills with visual storytelling.
In a story told in only blue, orange, and black, we meet two men—Waterloo and Trafalgar, names Tallec chose due to the way they sound, not to mention he felt that children would like them—experiencing what is very much a cold war. They are watching one another, each over a wall and with weapons at the ready. The men threaten one another most aggressively when the snail the man in orange comes to love heads over to the man-in-blue’s side, only to be cooked up for dinner. The man in blue kicks the snail’s shell back over to the other side, and all hell breaks loose. Or, at least it threatens, too, but never actually does. The cold war in which they are engaged merely trudges on. (It is here observant readers will see clever die-cuts in orange and blue and in the shapes of stars, which hint at unity. The cover, I should note, speaking of die cuts, features two distinct ones, one for each soldier.)
The war continues through the seasons, that is, until they are forced to meet, but I don’t want to give away the ending. It’s enough to say, perhaps, that they find harmony and also learn that not only is there more than the meets the eye in their surroundings, but also that they have more in common than they initially realized. And, as the editor writes in a note at the beginning of the book, “[e]ach reader will absorb the story in his or her own way.”
Along the way, there is much humor (be sure to enlarge the last spread pictured below), particularly given Tallec’s talents with character development and expression. Take this spread, for instance, which you can click to embiggen. In fact, I highly recommend doing that:
With emotion and charm, as well as a very retro palette and style, he brings readers a thought-provoking story of war and peace. It would be great paired with Davide Cali’s The Enemy: A Book About Peace, illustrated by Serge Bloch, which I covered here at 7-Imp and which Publishers Weekly described as “an absurd waiting game worthy of Beckett.” The same could be said of Tallec’s striking book.
Here are some more spreads. Enjoy.
WATERLOO & TRAFALGAR. First American Edition 2012 by Enchanted Lion Books. Spreads reproduced by permission of publisher.
Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.
1) I spoke last Sunday at SCBWI Midsouth’s 2012 Fall Conference, and it was really nice to see local friends, as well as meet some non-local folks in publishing who traveled here (mostly from NYC) to serve as faculty for this conference. P.S. My presentation went well. Whew.
That music is by Philip Stead.
3) Years ago, a friend recommended I watch Slings and Arrows. Sometimes, I’m crazy slow with my mental to-do list, but I finally watched the first two episodes the other night and loved it.
4) You all know how Farida Dowler makes the most beautiful dolls? (If you don’t know this, stop reading my rambling, by all means, and head on over to her Etsy site.) Well, we own many of these dolls, and our cat, Pumpkinfacehead, got a hold of one of them and tried to make it one very possible snack before breakfast. As in, ripped the poor doll’s hair off and generally covered her in spit. The eight-year-old shrieked in agony over this. (I had commissioned Farida several years ago to make this doll to look like my eldest. Needless to say, it was an extra special doll to us.)
The doll made a visit to a certain rejuvenation spa—meaning, she made a cross-country trip, and Farida mended her for us—and she now looks like this:
Yes, she now has a braid! Prior to the wrath of Pumpkinfacehead, she had much shorter hair. And Farida, who is super talented, even made her a new flower staff, though it’s not pictured here.
The best part may be when Farida told us this:
“The interaction with the cat has changed her. She understands that the cat was not being malicious, but just doing what cats do. However, her forgiveness does not mean that she has forgotten those teeth. She’s pretty cheerful overall, but it’s possible that, after she returns home, you may find scraps of moody poetry laying around.”
5) I love seeing the new freckles that appear on my daughters’ faces, as they grow and change. I don’t mean a mess of freckles in one spot—they don’t have complexions like that—but little solo freckles that suddenly appear on their skin, which you know will be beauty marks forever. (They could have three noses each, and I’d still think they were beautiful, as parents are wont to do.)
6) I went with my eight-year-old on a class field trip to a cave. The eight-year-old merely tolerated said cave. (This child would rather be reading. Always. And to her credit, it was the kind of cave that in one spot had a large-screen TV in it, so you know … it’s not exactly like we were spelunking or something.) But we had fun, hanging out and cracking jokes all day. I even got to ride on the bus with her.
7) Did you notice the kicks-number in this post’s title? We’re almost at 300 weeks of “taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.”
300 WEEKS? Whoa.
What are YOUR kicks this week?