Various. Birmingham: The Emma Press, pb, individual titles, 2018, £4 each or £20 for a set of 6, 20pp.
See the official Emma Press website for details of individual titles
Poetry, picture book, 3+ years
Bicki Books are a series of postcard size picture books curated by the Latvian author /illustrator Rūta Briede.
Each little poem or rhyme is skilfully matched to a leading contemporary Latvian illustrator so the books become a celebration of both poetry and art. Each book is numbered in a small stamp-like square at the top right of the front cover to make them easily collectable. In Latvia, bookshops have special display cases for the books to make it easier for children to be collectors.
I first saw this series in Latvia where I was inspired when talking to children about their enthusiasm for the books, and indeed I fell in love with them then. So I am delighted that the Emma Press has been able to translate some of them for an English speaking audience.
The illustrations alone, however, are a delight and showcase the work of some of the brilliant illustrators working in Latvia. Each has a very contemporary feel with beautiful endpapers and is a piece of total design with a typeface matching the style of the illustration and the poem. Bicki Bucki by Janis Baltvilks, illustrated by Reinis Petersons, as an example, tells the funny story of a boy and his dinosaur, whose tail gets stuck under a stone, with a few unexpected outcomes.
This is a delightful idea and a really fun format to use with young children.
Review by Pam Dix