Light and Shade: the books on the shortlist for the 2020 Klaus Flugge Prize

Now in its fifth year, the Klaus Flugge Prize is awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration. Derek Brazell of the Association of Illustrators takes a close look at this year’s shortlist.

Picture books are endlessly intriguing. They bring stories old and new, delivered to the reader’s mind by endlessly varied images and text working in tandem to form a special paper-bound connection: paper being the perfect medium to appreciate a picture book.

And the materials used to create the illustrations in the 2020 Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist demonstrate great variety on the page. Although digital tools will have been deployed there is a strong sense of actual pencils and paint moving upon paper surfaces, scissors and scalpels snipping away at (more) paper, alongside the tablet or desktop computer.

So, what does this shortlist of five hold?

upwards to a tense finale, pitting the hungry titular character against a flock of plump hens in their coop as night falls.

The crisp lines of the cut collages formed from painterly and mono- type textures keep the eye dancing over the artwork from texture to texture. With the beautifully composed and well-paced images finishing with a satisfyingly turn-the-tables end spread that should ensure children aren’t left distraught at the hens’ fate.

An almost meditative book, When Sadness Comes to Call by Eva Eland is more likely to be deployed by parents or carers concerned over a child’s emotional state seeking a way to explore hard to express feelings. I loved the way the story starts immediately,

Bored on holiday with her grandparents, Maisie sees a light descend in the dark wood and encourages her sister to investigate in a story that captures the thrill of exploration. Helen Kellock employs a superb use of light and shade in her artwork for The Star in the Forest, with colour emphasising the intensity of light in contrast to the spooky darkness surrounding the trees as the girls search for the light.

The reader is at one with the creatures looking down from the night forest on to the girls making their way through the tangled growth, with Kellock capturing some impressively vertiginous angles. As Maisie’s torch sweeps around, a double page spread where a set of owls on a branch stare down wide-eyed is simultaneously surprising and really amusing.

Washes of paint and speedily expressed pencil marks which leave some pictorial elements apparently incomplete (in a not-required kind of way), mean the reader dwells on the illustrations, seeking out further narrative.

The sisters arrive back home with no threat from the dark forest, but the same can’t be said for the roosting chickens in One Fox: A Counting Thriller Book by Kate Read. As the pages turn it counts

10 Books for Keeps No.243 July 2020

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32