Jacqueline Wilson on a picture book which tells a multi-layered story… <!–break–>
I wish I’d written Picture This by Alison Jay. This might sound a little odd when I say that the text consists of 25 words, all nouns. However, the detailed subtle illustrations tell a complex story, although at first glance it just seems an ordinary but very attractive picture book. But if you look carefully at each page you realise this is a multi-layered story about time and the seasons, point of view and perspective, a play on traditional nursery rhymes, and a whole series of adventures experienced by a girl and a boy and their toy bear and rabbit.
The first page is a picture of a clock about to strike one, with a mouse poised expectantly on top, ready to run down. There are four pictures painted on the clock, of a dog, a cat, a snail and a snowman, miniatures of future pages in the story. The next page shows us a springtime park with a dog leaping after a ball and a girl and boy running towards a hill with a well on top. The mouse is perched on a daffodil, tail tightly wound round the stem. It’s not going to fall down, but soon Jack and Jill are going to come a cropper. Each picture leads us on, tiny clues telling us what’s going to come next as we progress through the seasons.
This is a book that’s beautiful to look at – again and again and again.
Picture This by Alison Jay is published by Templar Publishing (1 84011 048 1, £9.99 hbk, 1 84011 049 X, £4.99 pbk, 1 84011 200 X, £4.99 board).
Jacqueline Wilson’s latest book is Secrets, published by Doubleday (0 385 60182 4, £10.99 hbk).