Saturday, 30 June 2012

Awesome? Well, clearly.

Michael Chabon, a name most commonly associated with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys. As I looked through vicbooks the other day for books to take pictures of, I came across his name in the in the children's section. 
Illustrated by Jake Parker, HB, 2011, HarperCollins Children's Books.
Yes, The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man with Moskowitz the Awesome Dog. Crazy man for a dog. The use of colour on the cover, and throughout the book for that matter, is fantastic. Awesome, one might say. The yellow and red in the title tie in nicely to Awesome Man's sweet outfit. The darker Space background helped enhance the colours of Awesome Man, while they've used a nice insert for his dog. The simplicity of the image on the back of the cover is nice, taking away from the busy front a bit. Also the mere three lines about Chabon is great, no need to flaunt his success. 
End papers
Title page
For a children's book, attention to detail, I think, is key. I'm sure most children don't let you skip pages when reading to them, and the end papers are a great example of pages that don't have to look pretty but the effort is definitely worth it. They are very simple, using different images of Awesome Man and repeating them, but it's enough to catch the eye and make you want to stop and look at them.
The title page captures Awesome Man in all his glory. The typeface of the title is very classic in terms of comic books and superheroes in general. Of course he's holding it up because 1. that's just awesome, and 2. it makes complete sense for kids to love him. The colours come through from the front, and the black strip along the bottom creates a 3D element to the image, as well as enhancing the colour for the author and illustrator's names.

Here are a couple of sample pages. The text colour changes depending on the background image. This is a great idea, especially for illustrated books, not to stick to conventions but go wherever the book needs to go. The black stands out perfectly in the first picture due to the bright colours (it's hilarious, click on it, and read it). The bottom picture uses white perfectly for the darker image. The whole book uses a sans-serif typeface, which, like I've mentioned before, is perfect for kid's books. This sans-serif is simplistic and nicely spaced, making it easy for a child to follow and read themselves. The pages themselves are wonderfully designed; the first uses boxed information really well to create a methodical and easy way to read the book, while the second runs left-to-right, up-down giving a logical rhythm. 
I really enjoyed this page, with the dedications are in keeping with the superhero/comic book feel of the book. You'll find the imprint for most children's books in the back of the book, I'm not 100% sure why this is. But the red background here links to the end papers (look back up), and the black sans-serif typeface stands out well again here. 

Lots more to come (assignments due super soon!),


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