A few weeks ago Team Haselup headed out to a car boot sale to hunt for books (me), cuddly toys (Molls) and ‘stuff that might be useful for a storysack’ (Mrs H). We arrived at about the same time as the huge, un-forecast downpour of rain. We ran back to the car and hid from the elements. It only lasted about ten minutes. But let me tell you… it was a long ten minutes! It was ten minutes of worry and peering through the car windows. Because I was worried about the books! I was daydreaming about running into the middle of the boot sale and speed-buying all the books to rescue them from the rain. Of strategic umbrella placement even though I didn’t actually have an umbrella.
Yes, I am that person.
But the rain stopped before I got my super cape on, and we picked our way through the puddles back to the sale. I’m not gonna lie to you guys, it was messy out there. Puddles on book covers. Seeping. Staining. A whole box of comics ruined. (It’s a car boot sale! Put the books IN YOUR CAR! Idiots!) We saw some serious book carnage and it was made even worse when some of them were books I would have bought. But, not all of the sellers were complete idiots and some had hidden their books in cars and under tables. And we found these gems. All Lost Books, books that I have never come across before and now love very dearly.
The Brown Paper Bear by Neil Reed (Macmillan) is printed entirely on brown paper and the illustrations are just stunning. It tells the story of Jess who discovers a teddy wrapped in brown paper at her grandfather’s house one night. The bear comes to life and flies her back in time for a magical adventure with all her grandad’s old toys. With nods to The Nutcracker, and the illustrations of Chris van Allsberg, it has the feel of a traditional Christmas story, it’s got that kind of snuggle up by the fire quality. I love the way the illustrations capture a child’s emotions and concentration so perfectly.
The copy I have is an oversized hardback printed entirely on brown paper. It feels special. It looks special. It really *is* special. I give thanks to the Book-Gods* that this book was saved under a table.
The Very Small by Joyce Dunbar and Debi Gliori (Corgi)
Well what can I say? I just can’t comprehend how I missed this book. It’s by a winning team and it’s delicious. It has all the elements of a stunner – great concept, beautifully written, and illustrated with warmth and gentle humour. Why have I not stroked this book before?
From the back – ‘“You’re very small,” said Giant Baby Bear. “I’m lost,” said The Very Small. Giant Baby Bear rescues his tiny new friend, and together they learn about the fun of sharing, and the importance of having a special place to belong.’ What more can I say? I would quite like a Very Small. It makes me wonder about the creative process. Did Joyce Dunbar have an idea of what a Very Small would look like? Did Debi Gliori create it? What would my Very Small look like? What would a Very Small from a very small person’s imagination look like? I love a book that makes me wonder like that. And I love this book for its gentle approach towards appreciating diversity, for the magical illustrations of The Very Small sitting on the edge of the bear’s dinner plate, and for that warm glow of a beautiful bedtime story.
A quick bit of research has pulled up Moonbird, Joyce Dunbar’s collaboration with Jane Ray about a deaf prince and the frustrations that arise from the inability to communicate. It looks like a beautiful folk-tale and I can’t wait to read it. Straight on the wish list! That’s one of the things I love about Lost Books – they open up a world of possibilities that more often than not lead to other Lost Books.
Can you See a Little Bear by James Mayhew and Jackie Morris (Frances Lincoln)
Another cracker that I missed from two huge talents. I love James Mayhew’s work and have coveted Jackie Morris’ art for a while now, since I started following her on twitter. This book has given me the push to order some of her books that have been languishing on my wishlist – so now I have East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Song of the Golden Hare on order.
Can you See a Little Bear is a spotting book for the very young but it is a spotting book unlike any other. The text’s vivid imagery combined with the high artistic values will encourage children to really look at the pictures, introducing them to the worlds of art and colour, imagination, theatre and fantasy.
This is a spotting book that is so beautifully written and illustrated that it works across a wide range of ages. It is written simply enough to appeal to the very young but with enough design and detail to catch the imagination of older readers. It has certainly caught and held my attention!
Hurrah for Lost Books and the wonderful places they take me.
* In my mind, the Book-Gods would wear outfits entirely made from books, like Zoe’s wonderful hat.
Source: All three books rescued from car boot sale carnage.