The King and the Sea
By Heinz Janisch & illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch
Published by Gecko Press
Gecko Press have some of the most inventive titles when it comes to the art of picture books. From the same illustrator as Duck, Death and the Tulip comes his collaboration with author Heinz Janisch for an new take on the craft. At 48 pages long and consisting of 21 extremely short stories, The King and the Sea isn't your typical picture book.
The King appears in all 21 stories, all of which involve the King questioning the things around him. He asks a cat why he lies in the sun, he asks his shadow why it follows him, and he demands the rain to stop raining. On his travels the King finds that he can't simply rule everything he encounters, and that the world simply operates under its own rules whether he likes it or not.
Janisch's text is full of humour and wisdom, and the childish nature of the King is simply adorable. Each story is simply told, with each one dealing with big questions which are answered in a simple unpatronising way. The ending is no different, with it hinting at the King's mortality. Erlbruch's illustrations don't disappoint, with his collage using textures such as sheet music and vintage wallpapers for elements such as the King's clothes. As you turn each page you can't help but admire each spread and it's classic charm.
Without a doubt this is a picture book for an older child, with the suggested age being 8+. I think for the nature of the book and to keep a child's attention I would suggest the same. It is a book to treasure and I can see it being equally as popular with adults, especially those who keep a space on their book shelf for well made picture books such as this.
The King and the Sea is available to buy from all good bookshops and online from Gecko Press.