not forgetting… Mitsumasa Anno

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an author-illustrator who seems to have an endless and multifacetted curiosity. I like the way he weaves maths into stories in books like Anno’s mysterious multiplying jar and Anno’s magic seeds . I like the minute detail in his travel books. And we have a book, I can’t remember the title, of vegetables and fruit. In the cover Anno supplied some see-through plastic strips with a sad face on one end and a happy one on the other. You can go through the book and decide whether to give the vegetables sad or happy faces.

I like his fresh ‘primitivity’ of his thinking. For instance in this interview he goes against the trend of talking up cross cultural differences and says about his travels: “In the end, I even came to feel that there were in fact no considerable differences at all. No matter where in the world one is, there are some basic patterns we follow. For example, most houses have a window from which it’s possible to see outside, and roofs are generally pointed so that the rain will run off.”

Perhaps that’s the mathematician in him that can see things in a detached way like that.

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