While You Are Sleeping
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This is a stunningly beautiful book by one of the finest artists to emerge onto the picture book scene in recent years.
The concept of toys coming to life after dark is not groundbreaking, but Deacon brings such originality and sensitivity to the idea through his sublime draughtsmanship that we are instantly transported to a wholly convincing night-time world. The toys speak to us as they go about their nightly work of keeping an eye on the sleeping child, making sure she’s not too warm or too cold, doesn’t fall out of bed and, vitally, doesn’t wake up when Santa calls. If the bad dreams come, the toys all put on silly hats and scare them away. Many artists have sought to bring toys to life, few have done so with such authority as Deacon. Every nuance of body movement is convincingly described through that rare combination of drawing skill and an acute eye for anecdotal detail. The artist’s increasingly bold yet subtle use of an unusual combination of media (pencil, photocopy, watercolour, gouache linseed oil) gives this book a richness and depth that gives the lie to the misguided notion that children need a diet of brash primary colours.