'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 27 September 2011

My Fave Dr Seuss Book: David Mackintosh

Oh, The Places You’ll Go has fascinated me since I read it as a child. I was attracted by the coloured tints in the illustrations first, and above all else.

This seemed to be a real fantasy world, an abstract world of foreign colours. It just looked strange to me, maybe because many other picture books I liked were traditionally painted in watercolour, perhaps realistically. You could kind of see how they were done.

The mechanical perfection of Geisel’s spreads belied the looseness of the drawing, and looking at a copy now, one can see how energetically he gets the drawing onto the page. I love the imaginative landscapes and creatures, they’re weird, but what gets me is that they are believable, almost tangible.

The big themes of the book are expanded by the scale of the child as he embarks on his adventure, and it’s this simple technique that is so successful. The little boy, alone on the white page, not even any colour in it.

The story itself is at once reassuring, then inspirational… then suddenly the tone is cautionary, reminding us to be wary, that we won’t get things our way all of the time. Then we’re saved by an uplifting wave of fantasy, back on track. And the momentum is never lost, just nicely controlled as we follow the story along, as if Geisel is pressing his foot on and off the gas pedal. I like this contrast, never letting you get ahead of yourself, but exciting you about what lies ahead.

I would only get to see the book at the school library, and would make a beeline for its stripy cover. I probably only read it three or four times, but that was enough for it to stay with me and when I grew up I went out and bought my own copy.

David Mackintosh writes and illustrates fabulous children's books. Check out his amazing website here - www.davidmackintosh.co.uk.