Enchanted Lion Books makes such lovely books, and works with such talented artists, that it can be hard to appreciate in the moment – as I'm working with my store buyers – just how great each of their books will turn out. Sometimes, because many of their books need to be translated from other languages, the sales materials I see before I start selling a season of books can be ... works-in-progress. Or, as was the case with 2010's Seasons by Blexbolex, almost nonexistent.
But once the the finished books come in, we reps notice! And the buyers notice. And reviewers notice. And awards committees notice!
The timing for this fall's season of books could not be better – some of the ELB titles were held back briefly in the US so that finished books would be ready before we start selling. So I've already had a chance to take a close look at one of the new books on their upcoming list, and I love it!
Enchanted Lion Books / Consortium | 9781592701100 | $19.95 | Sept 2011
Enchanted Lion Books / Consortium | 9781592700950 | $19.95 | Apr 2010
I Know How To Cook
by Ginette Mathiot
Phaidon Books | 9780714857367 | $49.95 | Oct 2009
Blexbolex is the pen name of French illustrator Bernard Granger. His art style draws on a retro-hip sort of old fashioned illustration: human figures and structures are reduced to super-simple shapes and colors that cause his images to pop out of the sparsely filled pages.
He is perhaps best known to American audiences for his design work & illustrations in Phaidon's 2009 edition of the French cookbook classic, I Know How To Cook. (Check out some interior illustrations at this Design Sponge post.)
In 2010, Enchanted Lion Books brought out the English language edition of Seasons (first published in France in 2009). As I intimated above, at the time I was selling this book with early page samples, I didn't fully understand how lovely the book would turn out to be, or how wonderful Blexbolex's art would be in a full-length book setting. (A book trailer for Seasons is available here on YouTube.)
In Seasons, as in the upcoming English language edition of his award-winning People (published in 2008 as L'Imagier des gens), a single image fills most pages with a word caption at the top. For me, the magic in these two books lie in the way Blexbolex pairs the two facing page images. Sometimes there is a direct logical link between the two images, and sometimes they are merely neighbors – unrelated but still fascinating.
Seasons was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010, and School Library Journal chose it as one of their Best Books of the Year.
In People, Blexbolex has upped his game. Most of the paired images through the book contain some linkage – the early pages match Man/Woman, Couple/Bachelor, Mother/Baby. But as the book continues, the images of people move into life choices, situational comedy, and subtle social observations.
The visual echo of the microscope and the telescope on this page made me laugh out loud the first time I saw it. The same goes for the Cowboy / Actor echoes. And don't even get me started on Nudist / Invisible Man. BRILLIANT.
This book is great for so many different audiences, young and old, but the humor and the witty sophistication of the images' subtext makes it perfect for adults looking for something new for their coffee table. I can't wait to share this book with my buyers.
FURTHER READING & RESEARCH:
Enchanted Lion Books: web site