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The cover of this issue is a design incorporating illustrations from four books illustrated by the subject of our Authorgraph, Ian Beck. The top left illustration is from Five Little Ducks (Orchard), the top right from Poppy and Pip's Picnic (to be published Autumn '97 by HarperCollins), the bottom left from The Owl and the Pussy-cat (Transworld) and the bottom right from Home Before Dark (to be published September '97 by Scholastic). Ian Beck's Picture Book (Hippo) is reviewed in this issue.
Beck talks to BfK's interviewer, Julia Eccleshare, also in this issue. His distinctive decorative style with its sensitive pen line and cross hatching has a nostalgic but sometimes also a surreal quality - he describes it as 'a look that is floating, strong and wistful all at the same time'.
Thanks to Orchard, HarperCollins, Transworld and Scholastic for their help in producing this composite cover.
This is a marvellous and moving short novel from the author of the award winning Kiss the Dust and the wonderful Red Sky in the Morning. On their first day at secondary school, Lucy starts a nervous conversation with new classmate, Rafaella and, without meaning to be hurtful, calls her 'Earwig' because of her big ears. Rafaella then finds herself teased and cut out of social contact at school - not, interestingly, because she is 'foreign as Lucy thinks of it, but because of her ears. Lucy guiltily joins in this ostracism but outside school she becomes Rafaella's secret friend, meeting her kind parents (so much warmer than her own) and sharing in her excitements. The ending is a shock, delicately and skilfully handled so that the reader is swept up in the drama in the most moving way. This short novel about, among other things, friendship, bullying and betrayal, is beautifully handled, a treat to be enjoyed by readers of all ages and a treat to read aloud- a box of tissues at the ready. It is illustrated with powerful and evocative pencil drawings.