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Visual Arts in Fall 2019 Various Places

A Story That Grows

Gilles Bachelet (author & illustrator)

A whimsical yet tender bedtime book, perfect for sharing, in which a stork reads to her chick in their rooftop nest, a walrus tucks his calf into an igloo cradle, and an alien tells his child a story in zero gravity.

Bachelet’s circular tale, originally published in France as Une histoire qui… (“A story that…”), features a slew of different species of parents reading stories to their little ones at bedtime. On the cover, a butterfly parent reads to its caterpillar child, who cuddles in bed with a stuffed panda toy in bed. On the first double-page spread, text reading “A very gentle mom, / a chubby-cheeked child, / a cuddly friend with whiskers… / …a story that grows” accompanies an illustration of a panda mother reading to her panda baby, who clutches a stuffed walrus toy. The next double-page spread features a walrus dad reading to his walrus child, who holds a stuffed stork toy. The text cycles through giraffes, ostriches, snails, bats, dragons, ETs, and backhoes before concluding with a white human child snuggling a stuffed butterfly: “A dad who stretches, / a child snuggled in for the night, / a cuddly friend that comforts… / …a story that is off to sleep.” The author’s bright, smiling watercolor creatures, machines, and people are wide-eyed, colorful, and attractive. In each spread, a fanciful nursery scene appears on verso while opposite, a book is depicted harmoniously and whimsically, with equally playful typography.

Originally published by Le Seuil Jeunesse in 2016 with the title Une histoire qui… Translation available from February 19.

Learn more about the book here.

Gilles Bachelet has been creating picture books since 2002 and currently teaches illustration at the School of Art in Cambrai. His previous books include Mrs. White Rabbit (Eerdmans), as well as My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World and When the Silliest Cat Was Small (both Abrams). He lives in France.