Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: If Found … Please Return to Elise Gravel
Publish June 6, 2017
If Found … Please Return to Elise Gravel offers the voyeuristic thrill of peeking inside the sketchbook of an award-winning author and illustrator. Elise Gravel’s penchant for creating offbeat, kooky characters is on colourful display. Readers meet such idiosyncratic critters as Amadeus, a googly-eyed, potato-shaped monster with a prominent underbite, who can count to four; Rick and Rox, the redheaded chicken pox; and insatiable Albert, a big-bellied beast with an ill-fitting toupee, who swallows a bicycle, potted plant and top hat. Adding to the fun are conversational, handwritten notes that provide personal profiles of these imaginary friends: “Floofs are like bunnies, but they wear boots. And bite. Really hard!”
Elise Gravel also serves up sage advice to aspiring illustrators. Her basic tenets are: “Enormous amounts of practice”; “Don’t be afraid about making mistakes!”; and, most importantly, ‘have fun’. If the sight of a blank page strikes fear into the heart, Gravel gives encouragement and proffers a list of “Things You can Draw in Your Book”, including: “Funny Clothes”, “Stinky Stuff”, and “The Coolest Toy Store Ever.” This fascinating, quirky and liberating glimpse into the creative process will inspire budding artists and daydreaming doodlers alike.
Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library. Her reviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, School Library Journal and CM: Canadian Review of Materials. When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.
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