Following on from my last post, here is a book we were given for Christmas and one which I highly recommend. It’s called The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith. Coralie Bickford-Smith has been a designer for Penguin for years and you can tell. It’s one of the most beautifully designed objects I have ever seen. Bickford-Smith is a fan of William Morris and this book encapsulates his philosophies regarding the quality, functionality and beauty of every day objects. Right down to the paper it’s printed on, this book has been carefully and lovingly thought through. For all the right reasons it was Waterstones Book of the Year for 2015.
The Fox and the Star tells the story of the friendship of Fox and Star, and explores themes of loss and persistence. The text and the images are woven together so that the process of reading the book becomes a journey in itself. I am full of admiration. My only niggle is the use of the word “picture book” to describe this book (Guardian, I’m looking at you!). Illustrated books are becoming more and more popular across age and genre ranges but I don’t think we have yet developed a vocabulary to describe them. I wouldn’t call The Fox and the Star a picture book or even a children’s book. The books in my previous post are ‘picture books’, specifically aimed at young children; books I would leave Finch alone with to explore. I wouldn’t let anyone under the age of four explore The Fox and the Star unsupervised. Spilling blackcurrant squash on this book would be like smearing banana on a painting by Monet. Personally I also think that, because of the way the words and text weave together, you really need to be able to read to appreciate The Fox and the Star. Little Owl and I both love it, and watching her trace the words across the pages with her finger as she reads it has added a new dimension to my appreciation of the design that has gone into it. So, go and find a copy and enjoy it for all your worth! And let’s try and find a new language to describe beautifully made, universal, and timeless books like The Fox and the Star.