So, here is the first of my posts about the many, many, MANY books I found in Dad’s loft a few weeks ago. Although it’s not the one with the *most* sentimental attachment for me, it seemed like a good place to start as it links well with another ‘grown up’ book I’m reading, ‘Show Me a Story: Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators’, edited by Leonard S. Marcus.Not the snappiest title I’ll admit, but it does what is says on the tin and is a really interesting book that’s well worth seeking out.
This post, however, is about ‘All in a Day’, devised by Mitsumasa Anno, which is a collaboration between nine well known illustrators and shows events over a 24 hour period in nine countries across the world. Each illustrator takes responsibility for the same country throughout the book. In many cases it is their country of origin, but in others it’s a country to which they have some other strong affiliation.
The introductory page explains that the book was devised in order to raise children’s awareness of the world around them and to encourage them to start asking questions. I used to LOVE this paragraph in particular (written by Mitsumasa Anno) and it still manages to boggle my mind a teeny, tiny bit, despite the fact that I now understand the science behind it…
“Because there is only one moon, its shape is the same wherever you see it. But the moon which you see in Toyko, Japan, and the moon which you see in Sydney, Australia, face in opposite directions. The half moon you see from Kenya looks as though it is lying down. So the half moon there looks like a boat when it is setting.”
Wow. I remember staring out of my window, peeping through the curtains when I should have been asleep (to do this stealthily from the top of a cabin bed required flexibility and dexterity far beyond that which I can now boast of possessing) and turning my head around to view the moon from different angles (seriously, I must have been some kind of gymnast – even a star jump needs careful preparation these days) and wondering about whether people reading the book in different countries – heck, different hemispheres – might be doing the very same thing.
There is no substantial plot to the book and each double page spread simply moves time on by a few more hours to show what’s happening in each country at 6am, 9am, etc. The 24 hour period begins on 31 December for the earliest country and ends on 2 January for the latest country, so it is an extraordinary day in the respect that’s it’s the changeover of a year.
Rather than witter on any more, I thought I’d share with you my very amateur photos of my favourite spread. I was captivated by the kitten playing with the shuttlecock in Japan’s illustration and I loved the fact that England’s illustration was so similar to those in ‘The Snowman’ (no prizes for guessing who the British contributor was!).
The USA, illustrated by Eric Carle.
England, illustrated by Raymond Briggs.
Brazil, illustrated by Gian Calvi.
Kenya, illustrated by Leo and Dianne Dillon.
U.S.S.R., illustrated by Nicolai Ye. Popov
Japan, illustrated by Akiko Hayashi.
China, illustrated by Zhu Chengliang
Australia, illustrated by Ron Brooks.
Uninhabited island, illustrated by Mitsumasa Anno.
Anyone else out there who’s read this book – which is your favourite spread? If you read it as a child, did it encourage you to start asking questions about the world? Do you have a preference for one illustrator in particular?