10 December 2009

An Advent of Christmas Books - Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star by Petr Horacek

Here's a lovely new hardback Christmas picture book from Walker Books. The author/illustrator is Petr Horacek who has a great website here. He's a young guy, originally from Czechoslovakia, but now living in England after meeting and marrying an English girl.
Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star is about a goose and her friends are excited that it's Christmas - definitely a Northern Christmas as there is snow everywhere (and the white background is excellent for ensuring the text is readable over the full-page illustrations). They have decorated a beautiful Christmas tree but Suzy wants a star for the top of the tree so decides she will go up into the sky to fetch the bright star she sees there. She jumps, slides and tries everything she can to get up to the star, and suddenly realises that she is lost.
Suzy walked and walked and walked.
She was tired.
"It's Christmas Eve, I can't reach the star
and I'm very far from my friends,"
she thought.
The pages are filled with whiteness with the solitary goose looking very sorry for herself, but then 'Ding, Honk, Ding, Honk' she hears the sounds of her friends and follows the noise until she finds her way home again (back past all the obstacles she used to jump from before). And when they all look up at the tree again, the star is now in perfect position at the top of the tree.
It looked magical!
"Happy Christmas," honked Suzy Goose
with all her friends.
I love the illustrations. The backgrounds are thick with texture, crayon rubbings, snowflake shapes embedded with inky blue watercolour skies. The main features - the animals, the tree, the star, have been drawn in loose pencil sketched lines, coloured and cut out then applied to the background. This brings them to the fore of the pictures and they often have an added sheen of the paper's texture.
The story is told simply, with all the drama in the illustrations. Pages are sometimes a single double-page spread, on others the pages are divided into panels showing Suzy's progression.
I hadn't heard of this author/illustrator before but I'll be looking for more of his books, I so love his style. There are other Suzy books and many other titles and illustrations shown on his website.
Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star
By Petr Horacek
Walker Books, 2009
ISBN 9781406320657

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