I can only imagine how difficult it must be to convey on the page the worlds one mind’s enter when dreaming, but Britta Teckentrup’s latest picturebook, Before I Wake Up (Prestel) sure does a wonderful job at doing just that. The story follows a little girl as she enters her dreams, travelling through the night and meets up with her friend the lion, which eagle-eyed little readers will soon realise is her favourite stuffed toy. Together they go on an adventure which takes them through different beautiful landscapes of the natural world, until day dawns and the adventure must sadly come to an end.
Using a varied colour palette, Teckentrup conveys the dreamlike atmosphere perfectly while using colour as a temporal tool, with gradually lighter colours warning that dawn is approaching and so is the end of the adventure. Her use of layered collage expresses the slightly askew and subdued narrative and atmosphere of dreams perfectly, and this is enhanced by the little girl often portrayed as almost flowing through the artwork. Throughout the book there is sense of mystery, yet never of menace, even in the darkest spreads. The rhyming text works well also and has a soothing effect which is perfect for bedtime reading. Young children can be weary of dreams they cannot understand and there is a definite calming and reassuring side to both the text and artwork of Before I Wake Up which is really quite powerful. With gorgeous matte paper, a superb attention to detail which is evident not only in the artwork but also in the endpapers and the binding, this is a also a rather exquisite object.
To celebrate the release of Before I Wake Up, Britta was kind enough to choose her top 5 picturebooks:
My Top 5 Picture Books
by Britta Teckentrup
It is so very difficult to make a selection and pick my top 5 picture books … Let me loose in a book shop and it might all change again!
But looking at my bookshelves today they are … in no particular order:
The Day No One Was Angry
Toon Tellegen (Author) & Marc Boutavant (Illustrator)
I just love the writing of Toon Tellegen…he is able to reach children and adults alike. (Marc Boutavants illustrations compliment his stories perfectly.)
The way Tellegen deals with philosophical subjects matters is just wonderful. Also have a look at his recent collaborations with Ingrid Godon.
Beautiful animal poetry and gorgeous artwork….
Just perfect and very ‘strokeable’!
Nicola Davies (Author) & Laura Carlin (Illustrator)
I love the message and the mood of the illustrations in this book.
The Bear Who Wasn’t There: And the Fabulous Forest
by Oren Lavie (Author) & Wolf Erlbruch (Illustrator)
Another stunning and philosophical book. The story of a bear who sets out to find himself.
The Dog That Nino Didn’t Have
Edward van de Vendel (Author) & Anton van Hertbruggen (Illustrator)
A very touching story about a boy and his imaginary dog and much more….The illustrator Anton van Hertbruggen has got a unique illustration style – absolutely beautiful artwork.
Before I Wake Up is out now and can be purchased here.