Small in the City - Written and illustrated by Sydney Smith Sydney Smith knows that children are the ultimate observers. In “Small in the City,” he shows us how a young child navigates a city — it’s unmistakably Toronto — with deep knowledge of all its nooks and crannies. If we can find them and are lucky, there is shelter, kindness and hope. Smith renders an elegant urban winterscape precisely, yet with an astonishing looseness.
The Lost Cousins - Written and illustrated by B.B. Cronin All great picture books make you see the world in a new way, but B.B. Cronin’s “The Lost Cousins” really pushes the envelope. It’s a tour de force work of psychedelia for kids, playfully dense and almost radical in its juxtapositions of eye-popping fluorescent colors. Of course, seeing is very much the subject of this book, the fourth in Cronin’s Seek & Find series.
Just Because - Written by Mac Barnett Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault Isabelle Arsenault’s richly graphic illustrations for “Just Because” perfectly meld the fanciful and the literal — just the way a child’s imagination does, the judges felt. To paraphrase an old movie ad: After spending time with this beautifully designed book, you will believe that fish sing the blues and trees set their leaves on fire.
Child of Glass - Written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna Concept and form are mirrored in Beatrice Alemagna’s “Child of Glass,” as she uses both transparencies and traditional pages to tell the story of a fragile yet resilient girl. Alemagna’s layered and highly textured drawings create a powerful sense of fluidity between the interior and exterior worlds. To turn the pages of this book is to witness transformation in real time.
The Farmer - Written and illustrated by Ximo Abadia Ximo Abadia has saturated the pages of “The Farmer” with color. Rows and dots of red slash against yellow, blue drips and fills, while water vessels mirror the village topography. The farmer’s red balloon pants and animal friends add playfulness to the seriousness of his task and the potency of the landscape. We chose this book for how hard work, brutal sun and the search for water are rendered through spare designs that boldly stretch across the pages, depicting and encouraging self-reliance and determination.
Monkey on the Run - Written and illustrated by Leo Timmers Warning, Leo Timmers’s “Monkey on the Run” may encourage bouncing and giggles — and thoughtful study, too. It is a playground of transportation that will satisfy the vehicle lover as well as the animal lover, as we race along with a little monkey who has jumped from his papa’s banana-shaped motorcycle to travel the parade ahead on the road. The judges were drawn to this book because the illustrations are both exciting and contemplative. The silly antics of the little monkey provide forward momentum, but the details in each illustration kept calling us back for a more thorough examination. The moose’s tongue is blue from licking gelato! The chicken has lost his steering wheel!
SYEPHAN LOMP Stephan Lomp was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he studied visual communications at the University of Applied Sciences. He published his first children’s book in 2011, which became the starting point for his newfound passion: to write and draw his own stories. You can visit him at Lomp.de.