Author/Illustrator: Emily Gravett
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006
ISBN 13: 978-1416914914
Emily Gravett has been producing high quality picture books for the last few years. She is an award winning illustrator and author. In my opinion, her greatest work is Wolves. Wolves won the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration. Unfortunately, the vast majority of readers dismiss all picture books as simple books designed to keep infants occupied for a few minutes–that is not the case. There are a lot of bad picture books on the market–but if you take the time to read a good one, by Maurice Sendak or Anthony Browne for example, and appreciate them, it can be a wonderfully rewarding experience.
Wolves is the story of a rabbit who goes to the library and borrows a book about wolves. As he reads the story on his way home, he becomes part of the story he is reading and is unknowingly stalked by wolves. I love this book as it is an example of a postmodern picture book that has more than one meaning. The author acknowledges that the reader, while reading the book, is also able to create an alternative ending, if they wish. There are also little pockets in the pages like a library stamp card that a child would love to play with. Gravett loves to play with the idea of the book as an object. She has done this with other titles such as Little Mouses Big Book of Fears and Again. It particularly makes her books stand out against the crowd. An example of this can be seen in the picture below:
Gravett uses different kinds of paper textures and shades when compiling some of her latest books–this is evident in this story. The story itself is brilliant as we are unsure whether the rabbit is reading the story or if he’s becoming part of the story, and is in grave danger. Adults will enjoy the narrative disruption and discontinuity in the text as it plods along. Children love to play with the actual book itself while figuring out whether the rabbit is going to meet an untimely demise (there are two endings if you don’t like to see bunny rabbits coming to a gruesome end). From my experience with children, her ability to make her books quirky with hidden slips, holes, and pop-up pictures draw a lot of reluctant readers to pick up her books in the library.
I hope to post more on some of Gravett’s other book’s. I love most of her books; Blue Chameleon and The Odd Egg are two of my favorites.
About the Author
Emily Gravett is the author and illustrator of Spells, The Odd Egg, Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal), Monkey and Me and Meerkat Mail. Her first book, Wolves, was the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Award for Illustration. Her second book, Orange Pear Apple Bear, a Quills Award finalist and on the shortlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. Emily lives in Brighton, England, with her partner, their daughter, and the family dog. | Website
Text © 2014 LIGHTLIT
Re-print © 2014 The Black Lion Journal
Re-printed with permission.
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