Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Et Pourquoi Pas Toi? - Editions Notari

Et Pourquoi Pas Toi? by Madalena Matoso, Editions Notari, 2011

Hello everybody !

Today I shall tell you about a beautiful picture book for younger children even if, if I think of it better, it’s a book for all ages. It’s one of Notari's last publications, I discovered it during the Bologna Book fair and that I am now happy to share with you. Notari is a small and eclectic publishing house from Switzerland that is run by the nice couple Luca and Paola Notari (of course).

For a start I would like to talk a bit about the author of this book: Madalena Matoso. Illustrator and author, Matoso is one of the founders of Planeta Tangerina, an interesting publishing atelier that has produced several picture books of great interest, suffice it to take a look at their catalogue to realize it. Madalena Matoso’s books are not new in Italy, in fact with Topipittori publishing she has two titles: Quanti Siamo in Casa and Quando Sono Nato, that have been published as well in French by Notari under the titles Chez Moi Nous Sommes and Quand je suis né, together with Se Balader. Only one title has been translated and published, this year, in English: When I was Born, published by Tate Publishing. Matoso has received several recognitions amid which the CJ Picture Book Award, furthermore in 2008 she was selected for the 28th Edition of the Exhibit "Le Immagini della Fantasia" in Sarmede.

But let’s talk about  Et Pourquoi Pas Toi? !

The book is wordless, its structure very simple and clever:

as you can see, despite the imperfection of my picture, the book has a cut at the middle of the pages, separating the tables in two mobile straps, images are consequently modular. Translation in images of the surrealist idea of the cadavre exquis (or exquisite corpse), of which another beautiful example is the Bestiaire Universel du Professeur Revillod, this book plays with image narration, though it maintains shapes and colours apt for a younger audience: clear cut images, on a white background, geometrical shapes, basic colours, image composition isn’t very complex though detailed; characters, outlined in a simple way, correspond to reassuring logics and are easily read.

In order to obtain a functional mechanism, on the left hand side all characters are dressed in red, while on the right they are dressed in blue, here below are a couple of examples:

Not only: image composition has been studied so as to give continuity to the upper and lower parts of the pages therefore, thanks to the use of simple geometric shapes, any combination you choose, page-cuts always correspond to a finished and following image, that sometimes leads to magic implications...

others simply fun ones

The declared topic of this book is beautiful and important: it tells of equality between men and women. In theory it’s a very complex topic to deal with though, thanks to the mechanism of mobile straps, all difficulties seem to disappear, there’s no need for words to explain, you just need to turn the page, the meaning is intuitive and immediate. This is how we end up meeting men and women doing the most varied jobs: women scientists, farmers, magicians or rock stars (see above), and men doing baby-sitting or just taking care of their sick kids, or primary school teachers...

Exactly because of the wide range of possible combinations, there are no age, nor sex limits. More: to a closer analysis the message goes far beyond equality between men and women, as in this gorgeous book there are no ethnical limitations: be you white, black, yellow or blue, you can do all you want. It’s the representation of an ideal world where I would want to live as well.

Created in collaboration with the Department for Social Cohesion, Youth and Sports of the town of Geneva, this book is an important tool for modern children from any nation: the idea of equality amid sexes and races is never learned soon enough, especially when society is subject to quick and important changes, like nowadays, especially when integration is a daily, urgent, issue. Maybe, with a book like this, children (or future adults) will learn not to look their neighbour with suspicion, and they will be able to give course to new perspectives for everyone.

Shortly: an international book for modern children! What else could you wish for?

I can already hear them: "is this a job for girls

                                                                                                                         or for boys?                                                                       
how about this one?

and this?"

P.S. I received the book from the Publishers upon selection at the Book Fair in Bologna, I thank them for their kindness and precious collaboration.

Copyright© text and images, Ed. Notari 2011. Images have been reproduced with the publisher’s permission, all unauthorized reproduction is strictly forbidden.

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