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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Illustrator's Notebook (The)
by Mohieddin Ellabbad
Age Range: 9-11
An incredible, highly original book packed with colour and black and white illustrations by the artist himself, as well as photographs and cuttings (postage stamps, postcards, banknotes and many other things) that the author has been collecting over the years and have been sources of inspiration for his work. These objects and images published in this book help the artist to retrieve memories from his own childhood and reflect upon very philosophical issues such as the way we draw the earth. North and South have been conceived by humans rather than nature. Ellabbad points out that there is in fact no North or South Pole, as the Earth is not attached to a ceiling!
Then there are his own comparisons of western heroes such as Superman or Batman with Arabic traditional stories; a section on cats from around the world; How does the way you feel affects the way you draw? As an example, the book features the artist’s own illustrations of flowers when he was sad and then afterwards once he had found relief from his own anxiety so that we can compare the difference.
The book reads from right to left and pages from Ellabbad’s notebooks, written in Arabic, are reproduced in their entirety, with the translation appearing alongside each page. The Illustrator’s Notebook is a welcome example of art and culture, history and tradition of Arabic literature.
This book has rightly won several international prizes: The Golden Apple award at the Biennial of illustration in Bratislava, The Octogone de Chęne from the Centre International d’Etudes en Littérature de Jeunesse in France, and the Bern Blaue Brillenschlange award.
This is a non-fiction autobiography and also a book about art, which will encourage children to think and reflect upon illustration and to look at everyday objects in more detail and with a different eye. Just dip into the pages and enter a very different and exciting world and you will be surprised by what you find in this amazing and beautiful book.