Thursday, September 1, 2011

Along a Long Road by Frank Viva

Deceptively simple, this picture book about a bicycle journey rewards repeated readings. The rhymes ("around a small town and down"), concepts (up, down, into, out, over) and counting (to three) capture only some of the appeal for young children. There are plenty of pictorial jokes and details, such as a snail beside the cyclist as he climbs a hill and a bird flying as he swiftly descends. The pages also offer a treasure hunt of transportation vehicles of every kind.

Frank Viva's graphic retro style reminds me of artwork by Pascal Blanchet and J.otto Seibold. Viva uses swoopy curves in his bold shapes and has chosen muted primary colours in addition to black and cream: gray-blue, deep red, and golden yellow. The yellow is used only for the road and is cleverly printed with shiny slickness on matte paper, to wonderful effect.

When I learned from a note inside that the book was created as a single, continuous thirty-five-foot long piece of art I immediately wished to see it spread out like that. Check out the book trailer at Frank Viva's website.

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