Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Halibut Jackson - a book review

Quote of the Day:

"You're BRAVER than you believe, and STRONGER than you seem and SMARTER than you think."
                                           - A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Title:  Halibut Jackson
Author and Illustrator:  David Lucas

My take on the book:
This book is about a boy named Halibut Jackson...

"Halibut Jackson was shy.
Halibut Jackson didn't like being noticed.
Halibut Jackson liked to blend into the background.
But one day he made a mistake, he was noticed-
and his life changed forever. "

Halibut styles his clothing so he will blend in with his surroundings, kind of like a chameleon does.  He does not want people to notice him but is happiest when he can go on about his business anonymously.  One day he receives a party invitation in the mail from the Queen inviting him to her big birthday bash at the palace.  Halibut is very flattered by the invite but unsure if he should take it in. How in the world can he blend in to such opulence?  He is moved so much that he has to search deep inside himself to see if he really could attend and overcome his shyness or should he pass because he would be too shy to step out and party with royalty.  He did take that bold step after dreaming of creating a rich, silver and gold suit that he made into a reality.  The suit is magnificent and blends perfectly with the luxuriousness of the palace setting, or is that the correct setting he should be focusing on?  What happens to him at that party changes his life forever.  Not only does he attend the party of the Queen but he becomes the star of the party, overshadowing even her Majesty, herself.  He comes away from the celebration with a great feeling of self-confidence and with many new found friends. They inspire him to explore and exhibit the amazing talent that he possesses within himself.  With much success in in his life now his shyness fades into oblivion.

The illustrations are whimsical and magical done in pen and ink with watercolours. Each page is packed with people, curlicues, domes, geometric shapes and fantastic details that keep you coming back again and again to find something new tucked in them  The feel is vintage and the clothes retro-inspired.  The simple text is written in third person with short repetitive sentences with important words highlighted in italics or capitals.

This book was published in 2003 and was chosen as Amazon.com's favourite children's book of 2004.  It was also selected as Best Children's Book of 2004 in both Publisher's Weekly and Child Magazine.

About the author:

I am a romantic: I believe the world is alive with gods and spirits and magic.
My drawing is picture-writing – I never draw from life – I make patterns,
as if I was knitting with ink.
I love medieval art and folk art – art that is decorative not just to be beautiful,
but because pattern-making is a magical ritual.
Writing, for me, is pattern-making too – putting words together as if they were simple shapes,
making story-patterns that are a mixture of autobiography and myth and fairytale.
I was born in Middlesbrough, the third of six brothers, and as children
we were all dressed the same – same haircut, same jeans, same jumpers.
My mother was a teacher and my father worked in the steelworks.
We came to London when I was five (my father had decided to go to art college),
and at first we lived in a tent before moving to a council flat in Hackney.
As a child I always enjoyed drawing and in my teens I became fascinated by mythology
and folklore, magic and the occult, and began writing stories and inventing imaginary
worlds and characters.
But I turned my back on all that in my twenties: I studied illustration at St Martins and the Royal College
and tried my best to be fashionable, and it wasn’t until I was in
my thirties that I rediscovered my old love of fairytales and began writing stories again.
I live in east London, close to where I grew up, beside Victoria Park.
 ”as remarkable a writer as he is an illustrator.” Publishers Weekly
“Lucas’s work brings to mind such great exponents of graphic art as
Saul Steinberg and Paul Klee.”
Ian Beck, The Times.

Book review rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always.  Have a superb day! 

Post a Comment