|Screen shot from Petr Horácek's website|
In What is black and white? you can see his blackbird is outlined in blue wax crayon, a great contrast to the bright yellow background, but also evoking the blue hints one gets when something is really shiny and black (I have a black Labrador, who shines blue in the sun!)
Here's his black cat, with the outline and features in wax crayon. I love her nose and bottom in light pink!
And what is white, can you guess? The children are good at guessing and usually get snow and milk, but not goose, a bird which appears regularly in his work.
Here are his blueberries, a dark blue against a light blue background. They really do look good enough to eat don't they? In Portugal blueberries aren't found in the wild, so we think about other fruit which can be blue. They have some very blue coloured plums and even very dark grapes have a blue tinge.
In both these books you can see that the pages are different widths; they're cut into shapes, and get gradually narrower, culminating in the creation of a superimposed double spread.
In What is black and white?, the black and white pages come together to create the zebra's stripes, and in Strawberries are red all the fruits come together to make a bowl of fruit salad. Children love this surprise, and they want the story again and again, so that they can see that magical ending, and only on retells do they actually notice the pages are getting narrower!
In their simplicity these books actually provide children with lots to look and think about. The creation of different hues of colour, the wax crayon and water colour technique and the montage effect. In one of my classes children made a black and white book of their own. And many a class have had fun making fruit salad after seeing Strawberries are red, and they love talking about the fruit they put in it, describing the colours and saying if the fruit is sweet or sour.
There's a whole collection of board books so check out Petr's website and have a look.
And also take a peek at his gallery. His work as an artist is interesting.
Part 2, my next post, is about his recurring goose.