You think you’ve got it tough? Try working on a dinosaur farm!
Frann Preston-Gannon is the first UK recipient of the Sendak Fellowship, a week long residential course with the late Maurice Sendak exclusively for artists who tell stories with illustration. Dinosaur Farm is her second book, and dedicated to Maurice Sendak. The Journey Home was published in 2012.
Dinosaur Farm follows a farmer through his day on the dinosaur farm as he feeds the dinosaurs, cleans them and their habitat and takes care of the hatching eggs. No part of this process is without a giggle as he is chased, nibbled and harassed by his rather large flock.
This book is a feast for the eyes, filled with dark, muted colours that are none-the-less inviting because of the layers of details. Stippling, pencil lines, crackling paint. It looks like a collage of textures but it feels fresh and individual.
The real joy is the humour in the illustrations. This is a brilliant book for discussing and encouraging children’s observational skills, the more you look the more you see. The farmer is followed along by a trusty dino pet complete with collar, on ‘the poo page’ said trusty dino has a peg on his nose and the most dog-like expression I’ve ever seen on a dinosaur. The farmer gets progressively dishevelled and a dinosaur has sneaked into the bath with him. And who is that peeking through the window at bedtime? The double page illustrations and subtle expressions of exasperation are a joy.
Child-friendly text and the obligatory heap of dinosaur poo make it an appealing story for children, but if allowed to spend time with the illustrations, they will get so much more out of this book, because it really does have a lot to give.
Dinosaur Farm will be published on 21st March 2013 by Pavilion Children’s books.
Source: Kindly donated to the Rainbow Library by Elli Woollard via the publisher.