A Village Is a Busy Place
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This village is a very busy place as it prepares to celebrate a wedding. However, everyday life must also go on; there is grain to be cleaned, bread baked, rice planted or perhaps a train to catch. The place is a hive of activity even as night falls. Can you see everything that is going on?
The concept of the wimmelbook is becoming more familiar; the busy book in which the illustrations team with life and readers are invited - often explicitly - to explore what is happening in each spread and across each page. Here is one with a difference. We are transported to a Santhal community in eastern India to be drawn into its bustling daily life. But rather than the expected linear progression, the artist adopts the tradition of the scroll and the visual narrative literally unfolds. Indeed at the end of the day the ‘book’ can be hung on the wall; the designers have included a need hole for the hook.
But you do not need to take it all in at one glance. As the scroll unrolls, the onlooker can take time, matching the text to the image searching for characters, animals, surprises helped by suggestions of things to look for. It is not easy. The pages are crowded, the visual language at first sight very different. Rohima Chitrakar has adopted the vibrant, lively, colourful style of the Bengal Patuas. Nothing could be more exciting - here the audience is truly transported into another place to learn and experience - and without the need for a passport. This is a magic carpet that should be in every KS1 and KS2 classroom, bringing potential for discussion, conversation, reminiscence and a different visual literacy.