Hilda and Akissi and Some Awesome Robots and Why the “Pulpy, Inky Pages of a Treasured Picture Book”

h1 April 30th, 2013 by jules

— From Luke Pearson’s upcoming Hilda and the Bird Parade

— Above and immediately below:
Illustrations from Marguerite Abouet’s and Mathieu Sapin’s
Akissi: Cat Invasion


I run the risk of looking like a bonafide Lazy Pants today—call me what you will; I can take it—but I’m going to lean on blogger/online colleagues and friends for today’s post.

I have a syllabus to finish building, and you know that Candlewick book I wrote with Betsy Bird and the late, great Peter D. Sieruta, coming your way Spring 2014? I have some to-do items on that, too. I have that work (and lots of other work) to do, and work always trumps blogging, out of necessity. (Boo. Sorry, blogging.)

I have lots of art to share, mind you. I’m just going to leave the words to others so that I can get back to work.

Here’s the low-down: Anyone else remember this conversation I had over at Kirkus last year with Sam Arthur, the director of the UK-based Nobrow Press? Well, soon after that—at the tail end of last year, I believe—Nobrow launched a dedicated children’s book imprint, called Flying Eye Books. In this first year, they’ve already released a handful of outstanding picture books and comics. (Pictured left is an illustration from Viviane Schwarz’s Welcome to Your Awesome Robot.)

I mean to tell you: It makes me inordinately happy that they produce books for children. For one, check out this manifesto of sorts. Here’s the beginning of it:

Apps and ebooks are great. They offer all the bells and whistles of a video game or TV show, they’re portable, cheap, they’re even dribble-proof! So why go to the trouble of printing books?

This may very well be the question on everyone’s minds at the moment and many think there’s a strong case for being rid of books altogether. But is that really what we all want? What would the world be like without beautiful, magical, tactile books? What would our homes look like? What would our children’s bedrooms be like? Where would that wondrous reveal of turning the pulpy, inky pages of a treasured picture book go?

Oh, just HEAR! HEAR!

Today, I’ve got art from three of Flying Eye’s new books to showcase, but remember that note about how I’ve got a lot of work to do? I’ll post the art (which always speaks way louder than I could anyway) and then step aside and link you to the reviews of others who have also seen and enjoyed these books this year — those whose reviews I respect and trust.

Sound good? Ready for lots of art? Let’s do it.

* * *

First up is Luke Pearson’s upcoming Hilda and the Bird Parade. Go read Pamela Paul’s thoughts on this new Hilda title here at the New York Times. She writes, partly, “Hilda is … a very appealing character — perceptive and buoyant — the kind that points out plants emerging through cracks in the pavement, and says things like ‘I appreciate discreet things’ and ‘That’s not a good reason for being rude.’ In her world, inherently good girls prevail, prophecies come true… .” It’s true. Hilda is one of a kind. I highly recommend you read all of Pamela’s thoughts, as long as you come back if you want to see the art below.

You can click each Hilda image below to enlarge it and see in more detail.

Note: The colors are a bit off in this last spread here (above).


* * *

Next up is the irrepressible Akissi. Go here and read Travis Jonker’s thoughts on the entertaining Akissi: Cat Invasion from Marguerite Abouet and Mathieu Sapin, which was originally released in France in 2010. Travis writes:

There’s something enduringly appealing about characters who find themselves in mischief. Kids are especially intrigued, as their sense of wrong and right is still in its formative (see also: more black and white) stages. But there’s a more straightforward attraction as well – in sheer interest terms, trouble trumps no trouble every time. In the tradition of Dennis the Menace, Akissi bursts onto the scene in this funny and unexpected collection of comics about a kid getting into some envelope-pushing shenanigans. You’ve gotta read this.

Go. Shoo. Read all of Travis’ review. I have two (partial) spreads below, as well as the cover. Click each to enlarge slightly.


* * *

Last, but not least, is Viviane Schwarz’s Welcome to Your Awesome Robot. (Anyone else remember when Viviane visited 7-Imp way back in 2009?)

Travis also wrote about this one here, and it was also featured at Boing Boing. This one is fun, and I love seeing Viviane’s work. Always.

Click each image below to enlarge. Note that the colors in the larger spreads are slightly off as they appear here online.


* * *

Wait! One more thing: I’d love to write about this new Flying Eye release below, too, which I enjoyed, but a) I don’t have any art from the inside to show you, and b) like I said, work is givin’ me the skunk eye right about now. Maybe another day …

In the meantime, you can read about Atak here, who is apparently one of Germany’s top illustrators. (He gets seven points in my book for the phrase “Struwwelparty.”)

You can also see art from the book here.

Until later …

* * * * * * *

All images here are used with permission of Flying Eye Books.

3 comments to “Hilda and Akissi and Some Awesome Robots and Why the “Pulpy, Inky Pages of a Treasured Picture Book””

  1. I am so looking forward to reading every single one of these. Thanks for reminding me to add them to my list.

  2. I love Hilda. The rest of these look great, too.

  3. HEAR, HEAR to that manifesto, indeed, and these books look great.

    Hope that the worky work is going well this week.

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