Monday, September 30, 2013

The Weather Machine - Donovan Bixley

Once upon a time, in a world not so different to ours, a little blue man decides to create a machine to control the weather. It all goes terribly wrong. The illustrations capture the hopefulness and naivety of human industry in this wordless book".

I love this book.  Like Sean Tan's work, it is simple and the narrative is universal, but still quirky enough to appeal.  My 4 year old took one look at the name Donovan and shouted "It's the Looky Book" writer/drawer guy!"  Indeed it was, err is.  Donovan Bixley is a superb author and illustrator.  I love his uniquely Kiwi take and the expansive imagination he boils down to these very accessible pictures.  But, like the aforementioned "Looky Book" there are layers.  Kate (the four year old) immediately started re-analysing the pictures.  She 'read' her way through the unscripted pages telling the story as she viewed each pic, but also investigated each cranny of each panel, discovering hidden or well placed ideas, and minutia within each picture.  For that, alone this is a winner.  At the highest level it's a story not unlike Seuss's Grinch or any other post apocalyptic/climate change tale of the 50's (or 80's if you remember "Where the Wind Blows").  But still this is a tale of discovery and delight.  And the ecological message at the end is simple and worthy.  Good on you, Bixley.  We love it!   

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