A picturebook from Britta Teckentrup is something to be looked forward to and treasured and Oskar loves… is no exception.
Oskar himself is an endearing black bird who despite being depicted in flat planes of colour somehow appears warm and almost cuddly. Through the pages we are shown the things he loves: the sea, grass, spring, autumn leaves and cherries. Thus at first the reader and his or her audience is encouraged to appreciate things that potentially are abstractions to a small child. Then, with a wonderfully sophisticated touch Teckentrup brings the narrative right in close and makes it personal as we are told Oskar loves these things, ‘…and his favourite pebble.’ Unsurprisingly, in the following pages we learn that he loves losing himself in books and pictures and then the narrative takes a surreal twist as we are told Oskar loves to take his cloud for a walk. Next we are back to his love of rain and sun and then in a gentle, poetic phrase and another slight change of pace we are told of his love of ‘the silence of snow.’
Bold use of white space, vibrant colour and deceptively simple shape and line are manipulated by Teckentrup to make the stylish graphic images of the little bird and his world. The entire production is a pleasure to handle.
On the final page Oskar asks, ‘What do you love?’ This parting question opens up the opportunity for conversation, and it highlights one of the most important functions of a great picturebook (and I contend this is one), which is to be a vehicle for communication between adult and child. Highly recommended.