Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara
Rating: 4 stars
In the woods somewhere near you is a library open only at night. A little librarian and a trio of owl-assistants run the place, keeping it stacked and ready, tidy and neat for all the animals. They are always available to help find the perfect book, direct noise-makers to the activity room, sit with you until you're through with a sad part in a book.
When the sun starts to peek up, the librarian finds one last book--the perfect book to read to three sleepy owls at their bedtime, at sunrise.
A cute story, indeed. But, just as in her other book that we have and love (Ghosts in the House), the magic of her book lies in the illustrations. Her amazingly detailed linocut prints create unique illustrations for this midnight library that exists in the woods. The simple colors--black, orange, and blue--highlight the details without overcomplicating the art. Each image is captivating, deserving of several minutes of my full attention.
The technique is not incredibly common in children's books; I think showing your child the book helps them broaden their definition of "art" and what it can look like, what it can be. If your child is old enough to use a sharp knife, then there are many projects this book can easily inspire! Lorelei was impressed with learning a little more--she'd be delighted to receive and use the linocut kit that is used here in this "linocuts for kids" demonstration.
Also, be sure to check out the incredibly unique, incredibly detailed illustrations by cut-paper artist Nikki McClure in the wonderful book All in a Day.