Our discussion leader in September is Harriet. She’s a very creative embroiderer, knitter, painter, and photographer, among other things. She loves shibas and books. She lives in Norway, and English is her second language. She communicates very well without my help, and the regulars here enjoy her “voice,” so I won’t be editing. Much. Just my usual butting in and puttering about.
I like our S4L Book Club, it is my little precious place meeting people I do not know, but feel one or several connections to. And now it is my time to post some highly intelligent, very in depth questions and comments on books because I volunteered. (And now the red panic button is on!) Well, I do have acknowledge that using English is hard (I know it is easy to make a lot of mistakes- all I hope for is that they will be funny and not rude), comment on books is fun and difficult at the same time, and I just have to forget that the group is open to every eye on the planet (if ants could read, they may have avoided the pages about fire in the grass in book 2, but they would
have eaten the cake in book 1).
I want to explain why I wanted to discuss picture books. I have a friend that works with literary critic of books for children and the youth. I told her about the S4L Book Club and asked if she could help me pick a book in a category that would surprise me somehow. She suggested Stian Hole Garmann’s Summer and Garmann’s Street. She knows that I work with graphic design and illustrations, that I like to look at art, and that I like the philosophy approach to subjects. She also knows that I have not read a book for children for ages – decades!
JenFW will post what I have prepared for you. That means that all my questions are made before September starts, and I will state my comments later. I hope that I will be able to answer or discuss other things that you clever people come up with in your postings.
I just jump right into this game, and ask who wants to and have a little time to spare to play with us?
What are your first impressions, the feelings, the moods and thoughts after looking at the pictures and reading the two books for the first (and second?) time? What do you like or dislike?
Hi Harriet! I have read Garmann’s Summer and will read Garmann’s Street tonight. I will post thoughtful and insightful responses to you questions a bit later, but I wanted to state now that I love, I Love, I LOVE the illustrations. These books engage immediately.
I’m in Albuquerque for the Labor Day weekend, visiting a friend. I brought my Garmann books with me. My friend has already ordered 2 copies of Garmann’s Summer- 1 for her and 1 for a friend!
I, too, love, love, LOVE the illustrations. They are so intricate and interesting, a slightly strange (in a very good way) blend of realistic and stylized. It’s a little bit like looking through wavy glass: I have to look closely to decide what I’m seeing.
At first, the length of text turned me off. It seemed long, like what we call “storybooks” as opposed to a picture book. Personally, I find there can be a boring element to the way storybooks are written, rather old-fashioned and slow. However, once I began reading, I found the text interesting and nicely paced.
It was a little meandering, I think, but appropriate to a child’s thoughts, and I absolutely adored the way the different threads wound together in a fairly loose but lovely weave. At least, that was the case in Garmann’s Summer. I found the text of Garmann’s Street less complex and, ultimately, less satisfying, but that’s a topic for another day.
My overall thought and feeling was that these books–especially Garmann’s Summer–are sweet, fun, comforting, and interesting. They’re great gift books, and I think Garmann’s Summer could become a classic.
I love the illustrations. I do like the stories somehow.
Reading these two books made me to think about if there are any rules of how the balance is set up between the pictures and the text in general, and for the age the book is aiming at. I have not a clue.
I am glad Jen gives comments on this topic!
The illustrations are complex and I can make up stories on my own when I look at them. I am almost willing to ignore the text! I think this is a quality of the pictures that a child will like too.
I detect a very safe home and family in the house and in the garden, and a scary world outside the gates. I like that reality is a strong part of the mood I get from the books. They are warm and give room for the vulnerability of every age, old and young.