It might not surprise you to hear that I love to visit bookstores in other countries. Even when I don’t understand the language they’re written in, picture books are quite satisfying to page through. Foreign picture books are a part of the travel experience, as illustration styles and tastes vary from country to country.
When I visited Prague a few years ago, I bought a couple of books from a wonderful artsy publisher, Baobab. Check out their English-language site!
I could hardly believe this first book, Kozí knížka (Goat Story) by Tereza Říčanová. Between the, erm, content, and the naive painting style, it’s hard to imagine this book finding a home in the U.S. Mind fully boggled, I said as much to my Czech friend Bara, who said, “Oh, well, that’s not really for kids.”
I am actually not totally convinced, because it’s about what you’d expect of a story about goat farming: life cycle, what we use goats for, etc. It’s just more frank than usual, with pictures showing a mama goat giving birth, a goat peeing, a farmer slitting a goat’s throat, and other choice moments. Plus some idyllic farm scenes!
I bought the book after that, Chrudošův mix přísloví by Chrudoš Valoušek, without having any idea what it was about. I just liked the bold linocuts and the circus-y feel. Turns out it’s a book of illustrated proverbs! Well, I’m into that kind of thing.
Scroll down to see more from Baobab!