I love Jon Klassen’s illustrations in this new book by Lemony Snicket. The Dark tells the story of Laszlo, a lovely little boy who leads a strangely solitary existence and is scared of the dark. Klassen’s nostalgic illustrations are delightful, embracing a warm rosy palette combined with the bold forms of the ever lurking blackness. If you have ever been scared of the dark, I thoroughly recommend you read this book!
I love these handmade cloth books by Victoria van der Laan. Victoria has been making things since 1976 and has an etsy shop selling her charming custom-made books for babies, kids and adults. I’m very impressed with her range of topics – there are books on science, dinosaurs, woodland creatures, musical instruments, fruit, mammals and transport to name just a few! Each book features interesting and non-traditional applique images as well as having a stylish typographic front cover. If you want a personalised book, Victoria can also embroider a child’s (or adult’s) name on the front, making a wonderful and very unique gift.
Donna Wilson’s designs always bring a smile to my face. They are fun, bright and more often than not, fuzzy. I particularly like her knitted creatures, so I was excited to see that she has a new kids craft book out called Donna Wilson’s Creative Creatures, which gives step-by-step instructions on how to make lots of fun toys and games. My favourite projects include Big Ted and Wilbur’s Mitten Kitten, Charlie’s banana bunting and Olive Owl’s Kite.
The book is also presented in a really fun way as each project is photographed as a jolly diorama, so even if (like me) you don’t have a lot of time to make things, it’s still a good book to look at.
Donna has also started a new kids blog called Birdie and Bear, where you can follow her adventures with her beautiful new baby boy.
Iain McKell’s photographic portraits of travellers exude a sense of family, community and freedom. These new Gypsies are here by choice, not heritage. Unrelated to the Roma, the movement began in 1986 when a group of Post-Punk, Anti-Thatcher protesters headed out of London into the English countryside. McKell followed these New Age Travellers to the West Country and over the years, watched them become a hybrid tribe – the new gypsies – present-day rural anarchists, living their subversive lifestyle in elaborately decorated horse-drawn caravans.
Known as ‘Horse-drawn’, these new gypsies share a desire for sustainability, a love of self-reliance and a disdain for the trappings of contemporary life. To see more of McKell’s romantic, strange and beautiful photographs, check out his book The New Gypsies.