This week is a special treat. Ricky Katowicz, a Soft Toy Engineer for the big toy maker Hasbro (as well as a creator of a lot of other fun stuff), will be guest blogging. He’ll be sharing his favorite children’s books all week. Huge thanks to Ricky for the amazing selections!! See more about Ricky by clicking his name above.
I was first drawn to this book because of the artist. Her use of fiber, fabric, trims, buttons, thread, and sequins are an inspiration. The illustrations are among the most richly created in new children’s books. With their giant rosy cheeks and bulbous noses, Beatrice Alemagna’s characters are distinct in any medium.
The first few pages telescope from a blanket on a bed in a field, to the surface of the blanket where the little bugs live, to a close up of one bug’s room, decorated in anticipation of a party. The playful attention to perspective is evident in the way the lace changes from one page to the next. Details such as these are the intricacies to notice in this beautiful book. The choice of felted wool as the primary material is stunning to view and texturally fascinating.
Bugs in a Blanket celebrates diversity. I first had this story read to me and translated from its original Italian by my Uncle Lenny as we sat on the front porch in rocking chairs. We were both surprised by the name-calling (e.g. “Fat as a hippopotamus”) and he laughingly explained that some words do not translate well into English. Together, we celebrated the story’s message as I gushed over the illustration and Lenny was just happy to share his language. I’m glad to have the book in English now so that I can share it with my daughter, translating in my own way for her.