It’s been a while since I’ve read an illustrated book, I realized on a recent visit to the library. I decided to rectify that by picking up two books that were on display, one about a river and another, a familiar story, about the boy who lived. Both were good reads and quite an experience, though one wasn’t as I expected it to be. However in both, I found that I paid more attention to the artwork rather than the story.
The River by Alessandro Sanna (illus.), trans. by Michael Reynolds
The River is an illustrated book by Italian painter and illustrator Alessandro Sanna about a town situated by a river. The story is told almost entirely without words, and the book is separated into four parts, one for each season, that all begin with a short paragraph about how the season affects the river or the town and what is included in that section (I realized this last part after completing the book).
My thoughts and the Art style:
The River is a sweet story. To tell the story of the town and the river, Sanna has us focus on a character, a man, to see how the seasons and the river affect his life.
So last week’s topics for Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday were about book covers. TTT was a freebie and T5W was based on the BookTube SFF Awards, so participants had to feature their favorite SFF cover art. I wanted to participate. My plan was to smash both memes into a single post and feature 10 SFF covers I really like, but I was sick and wasn’t in the mood to think or search for things on the internet. However, I still wanted to do a post about beautiful book covers, which is why I decided to start a new feature on my blog. I shall call it —
Of course, I don’t mean anything related to British broadcasting. BBC will stand for Beautiful Book Covers and in these posts, I’ll feature covers of books I have or haven’t read that I think are eye-catching.
Since I was inspired by last week’s TTT and T5W topics, I’ll begin by featuring science-fiction and fantasy novels. The following are the first books that came to mind when I began making a list.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Jacket design by Peter Mendelsund
After reading Trang’s review of The Wicked + the Divine, I was convinced to give the comic another try. It was one of the first comics I read when I decided to give the medium a try about two years ago. I was attracted to the title and the minimalist cover design of its first volume. When I opened the book to quickly flip through it, I was hooked. I loved the illustrations. The sellers at the comic book shop then told me it’s about mythological gods incarnated as superstars and that one even looks like Rihanna — I was sold. Anything fantasy that deals with gods and how they affect people’s lives is catnip for me.
The Wicked + The Divine is a fantasy comic book series set in present day U.K. about mythological gods who are incarnated as humans every ninety years but die after two years. This time, the gods appear as pop superstars. Everyone loves them and hates them and wants to be them. The story follows Laura, a teenager who yearns to be part of the Pantheon (the group of gods), as she gets tangled in the gods’ affairs.
Another superhero comic set in the DC Universe that I borrowed from a co-worker. This one includes the Justice League and other superheroes and villians that I’m vaguely familiar with, but despite my lack of knowledge about the characters and the universe, I was still able to enjoy the story.
Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer, illus. by Rags Morales with inks by Michael Bair, letters by Ken Lopez, and colors by Alex Sinclair. The original series covers were by Michael Turner.
Action/adventure; science fiction
When the spouse of a JLA member is brutally murdered, the entire super-hero community searches for the killer, fearing their own loved ones may be the next targets! But before the mystery is fully solved, a number of long-buried secrets rise to the surface, threatening to tear apart and divide the heroes before they can bring the mysterious killer to justice. (Goodreads)
This one was fun. I enjoyed reading it and I’m pretty sure readers who’re more familiar with the characters in the DC Universe will enjoy it more than I did.
I picked up these two illustrated children’s books the same day I grabbed J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives from the library. They were on display and since it’s been a while since I’ve read I picture book, I decided to give them a try. Armstrong looked familiar, but I couldn’t recall where I’d first seen it; and I’ve often seen the cover of The Only Child so I wanted to know why a stag was hanging out with a kid.
Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann (illus.)
A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann’s stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel from Galileo s observations concerning the nature of the universe to man’s first steps on the moon. (Goodreads)
What are your Friday 13th plans?
If I’m at home, I usually spend the day watching scary movies and shows until I can’t stand it anymore (meaning by nightfall) and then spend the night scared of my own shadow. But this year on my blog, I’ll celebrate it with Warren the 13th, the hardworking 12-year-old orphan boy in Tania del Rio and Will Staehle’s illustrated book Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye.
Published by Quirk Books, Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is a fun middle-grade book about Warren’s adventures at his family’s hotel as he searches for the mysterious and magical All-Seeing Eye, while also trying to prevent the hotel from being torn apart by patrons also in search of it, such as his evil Aunt Anaconda.
I read it last year and liked it, but I think it’s one kids will enjoy reading as they try to solve the puzzles embedded in the story. I loved the illustrations the most. Staehle, the creator of Warren the 13th and illustrator of the book, did a superb job. The illustrations are done in black and white with pops of red to highlight certain things in a scene. Here are a few photos I took of the illustrations when I reviewed the book:
It took a while for me to decide on the topic for this comics roundup post. I read them at different times (one for Halloween, the other because I saw it at the library a while back), but decided to review them together because they have many similarities. Though one is explicitly horror and the other strikes me as magical realism, both tap into our fears, what powers our fears, and our doubts about our capabilities. Also both include prominent characters battling mental illness and show the value of strong relationships. And both authors’ first name is Scott.
Wytches, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder, illus. by Jock with colors by Matt Hollingsworth
Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH, to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.