I have suggested a couple of books for reading this late summer over at Lille Nord. Two beauties that are already popular with the girls and never stay long in the bookshelves: Danish author Knud Romer's poetically written ABC, illustrated by Danish artist John Kørner; and Danish multi-artist Anders Arhøj’s new and playful “find book”.
The small poems in Knud Romer’s ABC are so poetic, often touching the deeper sense of things, discretely emphasizing the playful double meaning of many words and wrapping the whole alphabet up in beauty and poetry. John Kørner’s watercolour illustrations intensify the poetry, marking the fragility and the impermanence of a firefly or a bat with their transparent strokes of colour. Romer’s and Kørner’s ABC has the potential to become a new classic and to end up in many children’s bookshelves side by side with Halfdan Rasmussen's iconic version.
And lots of, lots of fun we have had in looking, pointing and “reading” us through Anders Arhøj’s “find book”. It has no text, the kids have to use their eyes, their sense of recognition and their imagination – and then, the stories unfold all by themselves via Arhøj’s wonderful and colourful illustrations. Frida Viola has been “reading” the book for me several times, and each time a new story is told. The book has no beginning and no end – you can start either from the red cover or from the blue cover. It has two main characters – a little red boy fox and a little blue girl fox (or at least, this is what we imagine!), and we follow these two little friends through the most strange, funny and crazy universes and adventures. This is a book you don’t have to “push” kids into reading – they grab it all by themselves. This is a book that celebrates free imagination, interpretation and play. Even the cover in itself is a play or a toy with its punched holes for eyes, that are just perfect for playing hide and seek and for making funny faces.