Thursday, May 4, 2017

Joëlle Jolivet's "Zoo-ology"

Yesterday I experienced the joy of leafing through Zoo-ology, a giant-sized (12" x 18") picturebook by French illustrator Joëlle Jolive. I discovered a copy while visiting a local nature center's library. The book is largely made up of double-page spreads of animals, boldly and colorfully rendered in linocut. Each grouping is united by eclectic themes, unrelated to each other, such as "Large and small", "Underground", and "Close to us all". Obviously I was drawn to this book initially by the relief print illustrations. Instantly I'm reminded of Christopher Wormell's stunning animal alphabet books. However, this book especially delighted me with its unusual and clever organization. There are so many animal-themed picturebooks for young children, and while many are beautiful, I rarely find one that surprises and amuses as much as this one. How could anyone not be impressed by an author/illustrator who can sensibly group a praying mantis with a whale?

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