As I’ve been preparing to illustrate a picture book, there’s been so much to enjoy in the research stage. I spent some afternoons in book shops sitting on the tiny stools in the children’s sections (strictly during school hours), devouring stories like I was still five years old. I’ve also learned a lot through blogs like picture book makers about the talented adults who know how to speak to children in the language of pictures. And one of the most eloquent illustrators I’ve discovered in the process is Yasmeen Ismail. At the Bookmaker’s Studio exhibition at the House of Illustration I picked up Specs for Rex and read through it twice and then a third time with my Ma because that felt like reading it for the first time again. The characters have such energy and warmth. A lion cub with a glasses complex, why that’s me! …
Rex has new glasses and he HATES them! He does NOT want to wear them to school, and he tries to hide them – in the strangest places! But it’s pretty tricky hiding specs that are so big, and round and RED . . .
It’s funny how things turn out, though, because Rex’s specs end up winning him a gold star, and a new friend. Even better, he can SEE properly.
Now, most recently Ismail has published a story called “I’m a girl” about a tomboy. Hoping I can get a copy at Bologna Book Fair next week.