For a lucky coincidence, as I was about to leave the Korean publishers booth
at the Bologna Book Fair my friend Giovanni from libriliberi (the best children's
bookstore in Firenze, not to miss when you're in town) pointed out to me Thinking ABC.
Having immediately fallen in love with it, I was delighted to find out that I could
actually buy it, since most books at the fair are not for sale, and I have found myself
before begging in vain to obtain a copy of a precious new discovery.
Iwona Chmielewska created this unique alphabet book in which every word is illustrated
in the shape of its initial letter. And for every letter of the alphabet there are ten
different full page illustrations! As usual, I picked the ones representing animals, but
scanned the whole double spread for you to enjoy. The artworks are charming, delicate,
whimsical and witty, and the author's imagination seemingly boundless. Thinking ABC
won a Golden Apple award at BIB, the Bratislava Biennal of Illustration, in 2007.
Iwona is a writer, designer and illustrator from Poland, but apparently she is best known and
loved in Korea, where Nonjang has published five of her very smart, illustration-packed volumes
(one more, An Accident, is coming out next month). As I researched the web for more information,
I could only find that another of her books, The blue stick, was recently published in Spanish
by Grupo Océano. Will any other international publisher please take notice?