gorilla man

(from Anthony Browne’s recent book Little Beauty)

I briefly mentioned writer /  illustrator, children’s laureate, Anthony Browne before. We were having a look at some of his classics today:

Gorilla, the tale of a girl with a much too busy dad, who is swung off to the zoo and thte cinema by a gorrila.

The tunnel where a brother and sister who don’t like each other, come face to face after crawling through a mysterious tunnel.

A walk in the park, where two small families pass in the park. The dogs play first, then the children, but the parents never ignore each other.

All touch imaginatively on neglect, silence when words should be spoken, even hostility. For a while, years ago, I felt uneasy with them. Now I’m pleased they have such a strong flavour, that they are a kind of challenge to adults and kids alike, while being beautiful and interesting and many-facetted quite apart from the challenge;

Here’s the man himself on YouTube:

I read here:

A game he talks a lot about when he meets children is ‘the Shape Game’. As a child he played it with his brother and he later turned it into a book of the same name, following his experiences as Illustrator in Residence at the Tate Gallery.

‘I play the Shape Game with children because they start to believe they can’t draw. But they can naturally, instinctively draw. Drawing is about communicating. It is not about producing perfect representation, but about communicating ideas, and the Shape Game encourages that.

‘It is a simple but fun game. Ultimately, it is the essence of creativity, because every time we create a picture, write a story, compose a piece of music, or we have taken something that we have seen, heard or read, we have transformed it into our interpretation, something of our own.

‘It may be that at the same time that children start to say “I can’t draw”, they are pushing away the picture book. We don’t value looking. I think we are quite a visually illiterate nation.’

And here in The Times:

“Picture books are special. They are not like anything else. The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures — a gap that is filled by the reader’s imagination.”

“These are not books to be left behind as we grow older. I would like to encourage the act of looking. I would like to encourage children and adults to learn the Shape Game.”

Come on then, here’s my shape:


1 Comment »

  1. I absolutely love everything by Anthony Browne! His books are truly inspiring – and it’s great thatmy children love him as much as I did when I was younger! I wrote a blog about him about his mini poem…all about cakes!
    http://arewenearlythereyet.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/after-that-i-had-a-stummercake/ Enjoy! x

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