By Yann & Gwendal Le Bec
Published by Flying Eye Books
For me, Flying Eye Books produce some of the finest and most adventurous picture books that are filling up bookshelves across the country. DANNY is yet another one of these masterpieces. Written & illustrated by Yann & Gwendal Le Bec, two brothers from Brittany France, DANNY is their first collaborative children’s book. Danny is a potbellied hippopotamus, who gets concerned he has a lisp and hurries to find a dentist to correct the problem. The dentist happily fixes his gappy teeth, and so Danny returns to the swamp to show off his new braces. Only for a crocodile to get brace envy and want braces for his own pearly whites.
Yann’s illustrations are the perfect partnership to the delicious text. Yann’s delicate line illustrations are accompanied by a wash of muted watercolour (the watercolour texture throughout the book is gorgeous), which stir up fond memories of Babar the Elephant and beautiful French design. The simple illustrated people in the city are the ideal contrast to make the visiting animals stand out - the perfect visual treat.
There are plenty of amusing characters to meet, such as teeth cleaning fish, lisping snakes and a very mischievous crocodile. I love how the animals and people co-exist, with the people not taking a blind bit of notice of a hippopotamus from the swamps popping into the city to visit the dentist (and without an appointment!). The characters are instantly loveable and I’d definitely welcome more stories around Danny the hippopotamus and his friends from the swamp.
I adore everything about this picture book. It has warmth and charm, with a pinch of dark humour that adults and children will relish. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but I will say that there is a reason why hippos and crocodiles don’t need to wear braces!