Saturday 21 April 2012

112. Jonathan and Martha by Petr Horacek

Jonathan and Martha by Petr Horacek
Published April 2012 Phaidon

From the publisher:

Jonathan and Martha are two lonely worms that live on opposite sides of a tree.
One day, a big juicy pear lands on the ground between them. Jonathan nibbles from the left, and Martha nibbles from the right ... and soon they are caught in a tangle!

This is the story of two worms, Jonathan and Martha who live on different sides of a tree.  One day they are both enjoying a juicy pear that falls from the tree.  Jonathan nibbled from the left and Martha from the right, they nibbled and nibbled until they meet in the middle.  Their meeting is not a pleasant one as they fight and tussle until they find themselves literally tangled together.  So, now they have to be together and find that they quite like it, until a big black bird comes a long and pecks off their tails, leaving Jonathan and Martha free…only to find that even though they are separate, they still want to be together (without tails?!).

So that is the story.  A little odd, but an interesting look at friendship (love?), plus it is short and reads well, so will be great for reading out loud.  The main reason I chose it,  to write about was the illustration style.  When I picked up the book to put in on the shelf, I didn’t look at the title or the author, only the cover caught my eye…and I thought, ‘I didn’t know Eric Carle had a new book coming out/’ and it wasn’t until I looked closer did I realize that it was not in fact an Eric Carle book. 

The pear on the front cover uses much the same colouring as the caterpillar in The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the style of illustration looks similar too, the fruit in the book look like they are a collage using painted paper.  Inside the book, there are even pieces of fruit and food with holes in them as the worms have eaten their way through.  So while the story is original, the book as a whole has a very familiar feel  to it.

I often wonder about similarities in illustration style.  I am sure it is never intentional, but over the years I have come across a number of illustrators that are strikingly similar.  Peter Carnavas and Stephen Michale King as well and Tom Jellett and Craig Smith are the ones that instantly spring to mind.  I wonder how the illustrators feel about this. Is imitation the greatest form of flattery?

Who will like this book: Boys and Girls age 3+
Read it if you like: Caterpillar Dreams by Jeanne Willis

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