Have you ever read a vertical story?
At first I wasn't too sure about this 3 metre-long concertina style book that opens by dropping to the floor. It messed with my middle-aged-woman head. Not because of the concept, because I SO love 'different', but because it seemed a little inconvenient--to unravel a book all over the floor in order to enjoy it.
What this 'difficult to read' creation did quickly did, however, was set me firmly outside a comfort zone. And this, as you very well know, dear reader, is always, always a good thing. Most especially because, the book became more about others than about me. As I sat with the book falling over my knees and onto the floor, I envisaged before me a gaggle of kids who would be gossiping and entranced by such a creation, oohing and ahhing over the concertina folds--stretching it out as far as the eye could see (well, 3 metres, which is indeed long) and travelling by foot along the pages to follow the story from above, little hands on hips or pointing at the pages below.
That changed everything for me.
And so, I really love this very strange book. I love it for its point of difference but also for its incredible jam-packed pages--full to bananas with astonishing scenes that will entrance any age group.
The storyline proper is actually on the back of the illustrations, so the entire story can also unfold as a wordless book--in which an alien lands his space craft in a magical city, and changes everything.
Dieudonné's stunning illustrations are a colour palette that's heaven-made, with carefully-thought, intricate detail that's sure to delight. Be sure to share this with a roomful of kids if you possibly can. It will be some experience.
Title: Megalopolis and the Visitor from Outer Space
Author/Illustrator: Cléa Dieudonné
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, $35 RRP
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book concertina style