Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dylan's Day, by Tim Hutchinson

Dylan's Day

Author: Tim Hutchinson
Publisher: Pinwheel Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2013 
I can't remember the last time I fell in love so instantly with a children's book! Yes I can. It was Lester's Dreadful Sweaters. I can't believe this is Tim Hutchinson's first book! From what I understand, he's been an illustrator for a while, but this is his first children's picture book in which he is both the author and the illustrator. It's impressive because writing children's books is deceptively difficult. Or, I should say, writing GOOD children's books is deceptively difficult. Some people think that once you have the illustrations you're home free, since there aren't that many words in a picture book. While that's true, the words you choose have to be written and edited just as carefully as with any other book. (Unfortunately there are a lot of children's book publishers who don't enforce that rule.)

Dylan's Day follows a dog--Dylan--who has so many important things to do and smell and find today, but the most important thing to do and smell and find is the big fat cat who lives next door. He spends his day searching high and low, inside and out. The words are perfect for reading aloud. They are funny and rhythmic without being trite or reliant on forced rhyme. Again, it sounds like I'm being picky, but that is a really hard thing to get right! 

I love the illustrations as well. There are pages that are lush with details (I think you'd describe them as "painterly"). You could read the book a few dozen times and still see new things on those pages. Then there are other pages that are primarily white space, with just a few simple closeups of Dylan in his search. It's so great to have both in the same book. I think it's the sign of an incredibly smart and versatile illustrator. If every page were entirely filled with colour and detail it may get a little overwhelming to the senses, so it's really nice to have the simpler pages as a counterpoint. Plus the closeups of Dylan are adorable!

I know, I know, it sounds like I'm over thinking this, but it really is a wonderful and rare treat to encounter a children's book that I love THIS much!

Hit the jump to see some illustrations from inside the book!

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.


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