A Child of books / Sam Winston & Oliver Jeffers
A week or so ago, Daniel and I spent a lovely evening with lots of other people and listened to two very talented people talk about a book they wrote.
A Child of Books is a story of a little girl who’s sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next? Combining elegant images by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s typographical landscapes shaped from excerpts of children’s classics and lullabies, A Child of Books is a stunning prose poem on the rewards of reading and sharing stories—an immersive and unforgettable reading experience that readers will want to pass on to others.
What the synopsis of A Child of Books doesn’t include is all the thought behind the pages. Sam is a typographic artist. All of the typographic work on the pages are made with real words, from real children’s stories. For instance, here you see the characters escaping a castle on a line of typography. The line of type reads the story of Rapunzel letting down her hair. Oliver Jeffers drew the illustrations and wrote the story out in his most charming illustrative handwriting. The combination of the talent from these two people over a 5 year collaborative project is shown through the beautiful pages of this book in an original form of pure artwork.
Sam and Oliver kindly signed books after their talk and were incredibly humble with an awesome sense of humour. I also purchased one of Oliver's previous books "Imaginary Fred" which was signed with illustrations. When Dan asked "Do you sign each book differently?" Oliver replied with "Yeah, sometimes the pig gets it" [the lightening bolt].
The book is just a wonderful piece of art which is not only written for children, but I think is also written for adults. Any designer could also appreciate the work that has gone into this book through the typography and layout. It’s simply wonderful.
I had the privilege of working with Sam about 4-5 years ago. I was surprised that Sam recognised me and remembered my name. The experience I had with him, even over a short period was invaluable to my design work which also influenced many of my projects throughout my final year at university. I feel fortunate to have worked with someone so talented who took the time to support my learning. I was studying Graphic Design at Lincoln University at the time and Sam kindly let me work with him for about a 2 week placement. I was able to see what a disciplined artist did from day to day. I saw the projects he was working on, helped print his “Orphan” book and added my own circle to his “Birth Day” artwork. I also was lucky to start on some work with him that would eventually lead onto the book above. Sam asked me to cut out words from books and to keep them aside. Little did I know at the time it would be the start of this wonderful book. At the time he also gave me one of his books "A Dictionary Story" which he kindly signed.