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Recommendation: Leon and the Place Between

October 15, 2011

While I was in Brighton for FantasyCon I stopped by at Dave’s Comics (an excellent shop) where I picked up a copy of Leon and the Place Between, a children’s picture book written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith.  I’d first come across this book a while ago on the internet where the illustrations caught my eye, but as soon as I saw an actual copy of the book, I knew I had to buy it.  Lately, I’ve been finding that some of my favourite illustrations have been found in children’s books and this book continues the trend.

The story is all about magic and the exquisite illustrations perfectly capture the sense of wonder and imagination.  Grahame Baker-Smith weaves together paint, photography, collage and digital techniques to produce some stunning compositions in a style reminiscent of Dave McKean’s, and indeed, McKean even provides a quote on the back cover.  In addition to the wonderful illustrations the whole book is also superbly designed from cover to cover, with typography (in the style of vintage theatre posters) carefully chosen to complement them.  You can see more of Grahame Baker Smith’s work here.

The book itself is lavishly produced and credit has to go to publishers Templar Publishing who continue to put out excellent children’s books, including several of Shaun Tan’s which I also own.

Anyone who loves picture books should check this out; especially those with children, as this would make for a magical Christmas present!

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