Book Review | Sleepy Book and The Red Book

The common factor with these two new hardback picture books is the illustrator - Vladimir Bobri (1898-1986).  I was immediately attracted by the retro feel to the illustrations so looked up Vladimir Bobri on the old internet...   Turns out he was a Ukranian illustrator, author, composer, educator and guitar historian who illustrated several books during his life, including these two which were origimally published in 1958 (Sleepy Book) and 1961 (The Red Book).  Escaping Russia in 1917 as a refugee, he emigrated to the USA in 1921 via various travels in Greece, England, France and Italy, all using a handmade passport and during which time he began illustrating and playing the guitar.  His beautiful solid , vibrant colours in The Red Book accompany text which reflects the changing seasons as the little boy called Jonny explores the natural world around him - apples in the autumn, snow in the winter, feet in the sea in the summer and plants growing in the spring.

And in Sleepy Book, the same style of illustrations are created in shades of grey and muted pinks and greens to give a wonderful sleepy feel.  We meet a host of different animals and find out where, and how, they sleep - from the bears in their cave, to the horses standing up, to the spiders in their webs and the little girls and boys in their warm beds.

The Sleepy Book by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Vladimir Bobri.

The Red Book by Suzanne Gottlieb and illustrated by Vladimir Bobri.

The feel of these two new picture books is lovely - hard covers, thick pages and ribbon down the spine.  They would make a beautiful gift for a child's first birthday or Christmas.

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[Thanks to the publishers Bodleian Library for sending me these books]

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