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

Monday 31 October 2016

Review: Somewhere Else

The long-anticipated Next Book from Gus Gordon flapped its wings and flew into my mailbox some months ago now. Sorry for holding off on you (but embargo dates are embargo dates).

Nevertheless--we have now arrived at publication date! and I herewith spill the beans for all you ravenous Gus Gordon fans out there.

Somewhere Else is every bit as scrumptious as you knew it would be, yes it is. From its endpapers featuring clipped suitcases and valises and trunks from vintage magazines, to its delightfully collaged pages and charming storyline, this is a book for all ages to coo over.

George Laurent isn't like other birds. Firstly, he likes to bake. Secondly, he likes to wear a cap. Third, he lives in a tree house. Fourth, he can't fly.

Ergo, George never goes anywhere. Not here, there nor anywhere.

His friends encourage travels to far away places--the magnificent Alaskan tundra in the Fall is an absolute must-see--but George has no desire to leave his cosy home and well-used oven.

Finally, George admits to his friend Pascal his terrible anti-loft reality, so Pascal sets about helping his friend take flight. They read books. They get awfully creative. But nothing seems to work until George spots a hot air balloon in the newspaper.

The two friends set to work creating their own fantabulous Ballon--and so begins a glorious journey that highlights the true joys of travel and seeing other places.

Somewhere Else is a gorgeous story in itself, but it's the illustrations that will have you pausing mid-tale, to take delight in. Using a variety of techniques and mediums, this collage-driven book features layering and overlays of maps, photographs, striking vintage newspaper ads, typography, watercolour, crayon, ink, patterns, papers and more--all combining to form a visually decadent journey that brings surprise and delight with each page turn.

My favourite scenes would be the Alaskan Tundra, the Arctic Circle, George's house in the snow, and the balloon over Paris. Not that you needed to know my favourites, but there you go, I told you anyway. I wonder what yours will be.

Somewhere Else is a joyful book, with lovable characters and a beautifully-crafted message about both the thrill of travel ... and the just-as-good delight to be found in returning home.


Title: Somewhere Else
Author/Illustrator: Gus Gordon
Publisher: Viking, $24.99
Publication Date: 31 October 2016
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9780670078851
For ages: 3 - 8
Type: Picture Book