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All reviews tagged with Mel Gibson

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A Big Garden

This large-format picturebook offers a visual extravaganza that takes the reader through a gardening year, incorporating images of what is growing or blooming. However, it is not a standard non-fiction guide, but a poetic exploration. The text is both fanciful and factual, so this is a book to share and discuss. For example, the entry…

Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit

This is an autobiographical book and a meditation undertaken on a train journey to Chennai by Amrita Das, an Indian author, illustrator and artist. It is also about another woman who has a berth on the same train, and a third woman who Das sees on arrival in Chennai. The train journey shows that the…

In Waves

This graphic novel interweaves the biographies of two historically significant surfers with the autobiographical narrative of the young contemporary protagonist, who also surfs. What it also depicts is the kind of reverence that the activity evokes. This aspect of the book offers an effectively researched history, combined with an emotional engagement with surfing. What the…

Knock! Knock! Where’s My Bear?

This is an architectural, or sculptural, book, in which the story unfolds as the reader unfolds the cardboard building that is central to the narrative. The novel format may encourage readers of any age to think about how a traditional book works, through exploding conventions of the picturebook form, whilst maintaining conventions of the picturebook…

La La La

This largely wordless picturebook is about connecting with others. Whilst the focus is song, represented by the ‘La La La’ of the title, the narrative is about reaching out, communicating, overcoming loneliness and finding hope. The page layout owes something to comics, as, although it doesn’t use an explicit panel layout, it implies one. The…

Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street: A collection of recipes to share

This picturebook is also a recipe book for young readers. It has a very slight narrative, in which the residents in the various flats in the titular house create a contribution to a shared meal in the garden. The residents of the house cook foods from around the world. Everyone chooses to cook a special…

Moonhead and the Music Machine

This is a graphic novel about self-confidence, music, bullying and school life. It incorporates both realistic and surrealist elements in illustration, characterisation and narrative. Joey Moonhead gets bullied at school (for having a moon for a head) and has few friends, although the ones he does have are as engaged with both science and music…

Once Upon a Time

This is a story about oral storytelling, in which Bard, who has brought joy to the village he lives in by playing with words, falls silent, and is only stirred into action again by music played by Ballad, the musician. The next new story begins with the title, or perhaps simply the word, ‘End’. I…

One Trick Pony

This science fiction graphic novel is about an alien invasion of a future Earth, an invasion in which the aliens initially suck up and consume electrical devices. Consequently, humans are divided into those who have reverted to a pre-electrical civilisation, some becoming bandits, and those who continue to try and preserve such equipment, especially anything…

Our Planet

Lee’s board book offers a wordless tale of the way that humans treat, or, rather, mistreat, the planet. The book has a circular hole in the middle representing the Earth. Around the edges of that circle we see plant life developing, as the pages are turned, followed by the building of houses, environmental catastrophe and…

Tamsin and the Deep

In this chapter-based graphic novel, Tamsin, swept out to sea when attempting to bodyboard in her home county of Cornwall, is returned to her family a month later by mysterious means. The narrative hinges on her family’s magical and historical links, their responsibilities regarding Cornwall and an ancestor’s deal with a mermaid. As one might…

The Ghost of Shandon

This time-slip narrative, in which Ronan, a contemporary child, meets Aisling, a girl from 1792, is a lovely looking book, which uses subtle shades of colour to articulate the experience of history (or of being a particular shade or ghost). The colour works very well, particularly the deep blues, which give a sense of weight…

The King of Birds

This collection of linked stories, in comic strip form, modelled on traditional Russian folklore has some beautiful artwork. Rich colours are everywhere and there are some very dramatic visual compositions that maintain engagement. There is evocative and effective use of comic strip grammar in laying out pages to increase drama, emphasise key points, and shift…

Today I Feel… An Alphabet of Feelings

The concept of an alphabet of emotions is a good one. The books ends by asking the reader how they feel today, sending one back into re-reading the text and making some decisions. I can envisage this being a useful way to start discussions about emotions, particularly powerful ones, although the author/illustrator seems to largely…

Too Many Hats

This is a gentle illustrated tale about a princess who is not allowed pets, the arrival of a talking cat called Hattie in her life and the chaos and misunderstandings that ensue between the princess and her parents when Hat the cat goes missing. The resultant pile of hats eventually draws royal family and townsfolk…

Triangle

This book takes a simple pair of journeys by two naughty characters and makes a charming narrative of it. A sort of Zen Tom and Jerry, perhaps! The basic narrative is that titular character Triangle, who lives in a triangular house in a triangular terrain, decides to play a trick on their friend Square. This…

What’s That Noise? (This book is calling you…)

Translated from the Portuguese, this is in every way an artist’s book as well as a picturebook. The images incorporate dots and symbolic forms that are simplified and diagrammatic versions of glasses, traffic cones, fruit and landscape. The reader is taken on a journey from an urban environment through forests, across rivers and towards a…

When’s My Birthday?

The theme of this picturebook is birthdays and the kind of expectations that surround them. It is also about numbers, counting and dates. The final two pages offer a calendar to identify the reader’s birthday, for instance, and the endpapers offer a long line of candles which cry out to be counted. Visually, the images…

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