Amongst the array of beautiful narrative non-fiction picturebooks being published in this Golden Age of the picturebook, Tree by Patricia Hegarty and Britta Teckentrup stands tall as one of the most accomplished, effective, fascinating and utterly striking. Their new collaboration, Bee: Nature’s Tiny Miracle (Little Tiger Press) is equally outstanding, focusing again on the natural world, its beauty but also its fragility, offering a plight for its protection. Here, the Bee is the focus, which despite its vital role in our ecosystem is facing many challenges. Hegarty’s wonderfully lyrical poetic text invites the reader to follow a bee on its daily routine, describing with melodic and atmospheric language many scientific facts such as pollanisation. The text is so gentle, lulling almost, creating a really warm, protective feeling towards this hero of our natural world:
As the bees fly no through buds and burrs,
A tiny miracle occurs
For every plant and flower you see
Was given life by one small bee.
The text is truly joyous, and it is married with some of Britta Teckentrup’s most breathtaking work yet. Spread after spread, readers are treated to natural landscapes abounding with colour, with the flora, so vital to bees’ work, taking centre stage in the most awe-inspiring way. The use of hexagonal peep-though holes allows readers to follow the bee but it is hard to tear your eyes away from the magnificence of the flowers in some of the spreads.
Teckentrup’s distinctive style of multimedia collage really is showcased at its best here, and I am particularly delighted therefore that for this stop of the Bee blog tour, Britta chose to describe how she created the artwork for the book:
by Britta Teckentrup
Like with all of my books I work with a mix of hand-made and digital collage.
I first create lots of papers with different textures …
…which I then cut up into petals, flowers grass etc.:
Once I have enough collage pieces and textures to work with I scan them into the computer and start putting it all together:
Here are some of my early designs for ‘Bee’:
I then had to develop the images further to make sure all the die-cuts would work and the text would fit in nicely. Here is a final spread of the book:
…and this is the final book. It was a wonderful project to work on!
Thank you so much Britta, what a fascinating insight in your work.
Source: review copy from publisher