Original graphic design and witty literary forms – from recycled books through 6-meter philosophical tales, to abstract picture stories on art – Culture.pl introduces the newest and coolest titles in the fall season for the most demanding readership in the world: children.
Four (extra)ordinary bowls of Iwona Chmielewska
– A book can be conjured up based on anything. And anything can come in handy. Even four ordinary bowls.
This is how Iwona Chmielewska, an award-winning book illustrator, begins her newest piece. Chmielewska, who has been recognised at book festivals and fairs in China, Japan, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Poland, boasts an array of 20 publications, a 2013 Bologna Ragazzi Award for her Oczy / Eyes... and a literary fanclub in Korea.
Her newest book is bound to become yet another best-seller. Simple, ascetic in its form and ecological in its spirit
Taking four half-circles made of grey paper, recycled from some old books, Chmielewska wittily conjures up treetops, umbrellas, windmills and clocks evocative of Alice in Wonderland – only to then use them for counting games, and letters of the alphabet. In sum, as the author states herself, she employs them to speak about something fundamental – lack and eccess, hunger, racism, social inequality, poverty and, most significantly, about the power of artistic creation. Dorota Hartwich, the publisher, comments:
Yet another time we are presented with the artist’s project, in which we hold in our hands a work that invites us to take notes, make our own interpretations and to take them beyond the pages of the actual book.
Cztery zwykłe miski / Four Ordinary Bowls by Iwona Chmielewska. Wydawnictwo Format publishing company
Sasnal for kids
Following her Powidoki / Afterimages, a book that introduced the youngest readers to an adult world of art history and Władysław Strzemiński’s paintings, the Wrocław-based author Tina Oziewicz has decided to acquaint kids with the mysterious oeuvre of Wilhelm Sasnal. She attempts to do so in the new book entitled Pamiątki z Paryża / Souvenirs from Paris. A comment from the curator of Warsaw’s Museum of Modern Art, Sebastian Cichocki, indicates that this is no simple task, because "Sasnal is interested in the entire world. Each of his paintings tells a different and fascinating story, albeit not an easy one, and one for which we have to find a particular interpretative key."
Together with her readers, the author searches for these keys all over, beginning with the Eiffel Tower that spreads its seeds across the globe, heading to mining platforms on the North Sea, as well as the town of Kazimierz Dolny, the Peruvian plateau and a nanobiotechnological lab. Throughout this journey, she manages to unravel the mystery of where little Eiffel tower trinkets really come from… This surrealist story of a Parisian Souvenir is inspired by Sasnal’s paining and illustrated by Jacek Ambrożewski.
Pamiątka z Paryża / A Souvenir from Paris, Tina Oziewicz, Dwie Siostry publishing company
6,5 meters of searching for happiness
The winner of last year’s Nike Literary Award, Marek Bieńczyk, has once again taken to the playful form of a philosphical tale. In his Książe w cukierni / Prince in the Bakery, Bieńczyk employs the artistic talent of Joanna Concejo – a Polish illustrator living in Paris – as well as the extraordinary format of a 6.5-meter harmonice to asks kids what happiness is. Charming and poetic, Prince in the Bakery is a piece of art meant for reading and indulging visually.
Prince in the Bakery, written by Marek Bieńczyk, illustrated by Joanna Concejo, Format publishing company
The Mysterious Envelope of Arthur the Postman
Bringing together French literary talent and Polish illustrative vision, the Gerard Moncomble - Paweł Pawlak duo tell the story of Arthur, the brave postman. Moncomble has authored over a hundred children’s books, and Pawlak has illustrated about 70.
A detective story adorned with subtle humour unfolds throughout the pages of their Zagadkowa koperta listonosza Artura / The Mysterious Envelope of Arthur the Postman. Pawlak created its meticulously composed illustrations using the technique of collage and cut-outs, adding in real postage stamps and prints. A retro-nostalgic aesthetic of the book brings back to life the charming era of handwritten letters, making one miss the vanishing tradition of sending postcards. And for some of the youngest readers it is surely the first encounter with this tradition.
Trąbizupkis, rymanarkis and bambajs or…
Maria "Mroux" Bulikowska argues that this little book is more than a guide to becoming a Warsaw trickster. Her Mała książka o gwarze warszawskiej / Little Book of Warsaw Slang reveals the mysteries of the capital through a series of funny bits of instruction and advice. For exemple, how do you recongise a "cwaniak" – a Warsaw trickster, or a menace with extraordinary orientation in the topography and life of his city?
Imagine him walking down the street in the famous flat cap turned to the side, and his hands in his pockets. It he is less than 13 or 14, we would call him Antek. Older cwaniaki are Andruses.
Maria "Mroux" Bulikowska is a young artist, translator and illustrator who authors a cartoon blog. She is a laureate of the first edition of the Polish Children’s Design Award.
Mała książka o gwarze warszawskiej / Little Book of Warsaw Slang, Maria "Mroux" Bulikowska, Babaryba publishing company
The Mizielińscy Duo’s Drawings
Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielińscy may well need no introduction. They are one of the most recognised children’s book designers in Poland, who have garnered recognition across the world. After their Maps, H.O.U.S.E and D.E.S.I.G.N, they now created Pora na potwora / Monster Time. In this fun piece, they experiment to find out what would happen if animals swapped their heads, stomachs, legs and tails. Each page in the book is divided into three parts, and by folding them over in a variety of combinations, we are able to create numerous strange new creatures, with growingly strange names.
Pora na potwora / Monster Time, Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielińscy, Dwie Siostry publishing company
Sheeps Play Poker
Przemysław Wechterowicz gives a humorous and witty lesson in psychology in his newest book, Wilk, pies i owce / The Wolf, the Dog and the Sheep. Wechterowicz presented his titulary animal protagonists with an array of human qualities.
We get to know a careless sheep family, represented by Mariola Maria the waitress with emerald-green eyes, whose passion is to lay things bare, and Barbara Maria the Sheep, a blue-eyed poker player, who always puts her cards on the table. There are also sculptors who knock on wood, models who sail under false colours, and hairdressers who divide the hair into four. There is also Peter Paul the Dog. 28 years old, a guard by profession and a great fan of cars. His devotion to this passion is ruled by German precision. And there is also Francis Anthony the Wolf, crazy about boxing, karate, judo and other martial arts.
Wilk, pies i owca / The Wolf, the Dog and the Sheep, written by Przemysław Wechterowicz, illustrated by Bartosz Minkiewicz
A True Fairy Tale
Geometric shapes, abstract forms, a crazy composition with elements of computer games and cartoons. This is the newest offer from Mikołaj Łoziński, a laureate of the Polityka Passport award, who teamed up with Marta Ignerska, a talent of the young generation of illustrators. Their book is also a real challenge for the imagination of children and their parents. A white piece of paper turns into an iceberg, blue stripes become Cote d’Azur, red triangles are the tunnel under Mont Blanc, and yellow circles are all the interesting things that surround us...
A review of this little book by Joanna Olech states that "Mikołaj is the Edison of literature. Marta is the Einstein of illustration. Together they have created a revolutionary book – a very simple story based on masterful substraction and genius synthesis.
Prawdziwa bajka / A True Fairy Tale, Mikołaj Łoziński, Marta Ignerska, Kultura Gniewu publishing house, as part of the Krótkie Gatki series
Author: Anna Legierska, translated with edits by Paulina Schlosser, 16.10.2013
Sources: Tygodnik Powszechny, Newsweek, www.kultura.com., TOK FM