Book: la carota gigante (the very big carrot)
Author/Illustrator: Satoe Tone
I was blessed with the opportunity to take my first trip to Europe this year, and one of my requirements for myself was to bring back a picture book or two from their stores. Because I don't speak Italian, any book I selected would be chosen solely based on my response to the artwork. Little did I know that I would select a book from a Japanese author/illustrator and not an Italian one, but from the moment I saw it I knew I would buy it. The illustrations are lush and layered, with a surreal quality to some of the spreads where they transcend what you would expect to happen and evolve into this very unique and complex world. I love the way her illustrations play with scale, since you never once see the carrot in its entirety, but you never get bored of seeing the carrot in different locations and environments. The characters, a group or family of bunnies, are all very similar but just different enough to create interest and appeal. My perfect pages in the book are a spread early on that just makes me smile every time i see it. The humor of having the little one "helping" but so obviously not, makes it such a fun and playful moment.
I have deliberately avoided reading the english version (or using Google Translate) so i can analyze the story based on the pictures alone. Here is my pictorial interpretation of the story: The rabbits grow a very large carrot. But what should they do with the carrot? What if they dance and celebrate over their carrot, or turn it into a sailing ship, or walk on it upside-down (on their ears), or turn it into a flying ship, or a park to sunbathe in, or a garden, or a home? But it's still there and very large and they aren't happy with any of those options. They decide instead to... well, you'll just have to read the book to find out.