Posts Tagged ‘review’

Slanted magazine: Helsinki issue – review

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Review by Derek Brazell

This is the most recent issue of Slanted – the Helsinki issue. With a seductively gleaming blue cover leading the reader into a wealth of content, it’s an interesting magazine to engage with.

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The focus of Slanted is on typography graphic design, but when investigating a city (as they do with each issue) they bring in many more elements, talking to creators from the city about much more than type. A questionnaire directed to a designers gives multiple views and attitudes towards their city and country (’Finns have a strong sense of national identity. What does it mean?’)

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Not always expected in design magazine, there is the inclusion of short story fiction – stories which bring the reader into the Finnish experience in a way that straightforward reporting may not do so effectively.

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Illustration is involved, with the regular section of Font Names Illustrated covered by nine illustrators visualising Nordvest, Suomi Kuvaa and others.

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An interesting, eclectic approach to a city and it’s design friendly inhabitants. See more here

The Hello Atlas

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Written by Ben Handicott

Illustrated by Kenard Pak

Published by Wide Eyed Editions ISBN: 9781847808493

Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster

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The cover is a gentle image of an atlas that wraps around the book. The friendly children populating the atlas greet the reader. This image describes exactly what we can expect of the contents. The title is bold and is accompanied by a round sticker, announcing a free App to download.

The App adds an extra dimension to the interaction with this publication. It’s useful because children can actually hear the words spoken in the language of their choice. I can imagine children copying the speech patterns and enjoying the new sounds and inflections from their counterparts living half a world away.

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The premise is simple, all over our planet there are children and they all say the same things to communicate with one another. What is your name? My name is… How are you? I’m fine and HELLO. The book ranges across seven continents showing that humans are everywhere, what is it that makes them different but most importantly how much they have in common. There is an instructive foreword by Wade Davis, Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia to give context to the evolution of spoken language. Author Ben Handicott has selected from a possible 7000 languages and 130 variations to give the reader a realistic idea of who we are and how articulate humans have become over thousands of years. There is also page on How To Use This Book. The structure first introduces the region of the Atlas, then a full-page location image followed by three featured languages per page for the majority of the region.

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The illustrations by Kenard Pak are stylized to universalize the children with minimum room for accurate ethnic description beyond skin tone, hair shape and eye colour. There is one nod to regional individuality with the inclusion of Iceland’s best export after fish and Magnus Magnusson: Bjork! Where the artist succeeds best is in the full-page location images of places like Rio, South Thailand, North Africa, Kenya and New Zealand. The book is aimed at children aged six and older and the selected typefaces are easy to read for this audience. The page information hierarchy is aided by the inclusion of flat colours.

Wide Eyed Editions have produced a book that opens up the world to children and helps them to consider the differences in language and location but most importantly the exciting fact that it can be a friendly world with universal communication needs.

7 January 2017

If you liked this book review then you may be interested in these books:

Atlas of the Human Body

Natural World

Atlas of Animal Adventures

Fox & Goldfish – book review

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Written and Illustrated by Nils Pieters

Published by Book Island

ISBN 978-0-9941282-1-8

Hardback released July 2016

Review by Allie Oldfield

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Bereavement is always a tough issue to tackle in children’s books, but Fox & Goldfish by Nils Pieters manages to be a refreshing and expressive take on the often avoided subject. The story centre’s on a Fox and his relationship with his dying friend Goldfish and his quest to show Goldfish the wonders of the world before he departs his fish bowl for good.

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My first impression of this book is how vivid it is, Pieters’ illustrations have a child-like quality to them that contrasts the sad theme wonderfully. The illustrations are full of happy scenes of Fox taking his friend on various outings, from motorcycling through the Grand Canyon to skiing in the Alps; the book contains hardly any words but it ends up working well with the scenic spreads that say enough on their own. Thick coloured pencil is scribbled across painted landscapes, forests are swathed in emerald green, Mount Fuji leaps out in cerulean blue. Peiters isn’t afraid of putting raw colour on a page and it certainly makes an impact. This boldness ties in nicely with Fox’s mission to help create an unforgettable trip for himself and his friend, and helps teach children that holding onto great memories is an important part of getting through a loss.

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I had the opportunity of showing this book to a class of 8-9 year old’s and their reaction was positive. At the start of reading they knew the pair were travelling the world together and enjoyed the bright illustrations. But by the end they understood that Goldfish was dying and were upset but accepting. They commented on how Fox was so loving to think of Goldfish and what he would need to see before he died, but also how Fox had made memories to remember him by. Overall Fox & Goldfish is an uplifting tale on loss which children will enjoy for it’s rich colours and heartening themes of friendship and remembrance.

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