An illustration by Jez Alborough for Duck in the Truck. Notice how the muck spills out of the panel?
My youngest daughter brought home a book the other day titled Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough. Here it is on Amazon. Look at the preview and you can see some of the images. What I like about it particularly is the way he laid it out. The illustrations themselves are great, energetic, expressive scenes worthy of admiration on their own. However, the layout is what struck me. See, he laid the illustrations out in panel style a bit like a comic strip. The text is in the white space underneath each panel, which is very easy to read (I always appreciate that). But what I liked best is that as it gets further into the book and things get hard and messy and chaotic for the characters, the scenes start to spill outside of the boxes. They don’t obscure the words at all. Those are still in white space, but the panel boxes seem unable to contain the action and muck. Then when things calm down, they scenes are neat and in their boxes again. I just really like how the illustrator did that.
My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bacelet. The twist is that it’s not a cat.
And while I’m mentioning other illustrator’s work that I admire, I’d like to mention My Cat, The Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bachelet. Here it is on Amazon. It’s another one that my daughter brought home from school, but this one came home last year sometime. Anyway, this story would be really inane without the illustrations. It’s this guy just talking about the normal, weird things his cat does in a day. But the twist is that the illustrations aren’t of a cat at all. They’re of an elephant! That makes all the difference! So, it’s like this guy doesn’t know that his cat is really an elephant. I think the elephant thinks he’s a cat too. It’s really funny to see the elephant doing all the things ascribed to the cat.