‘This is a tale about a big city.
It’s a tale of hotdogs and music and the summertime subway breeze.
It’s a tale of singing on rooftops and toffees that stick to your teeth.
But most of all, it’s the tale of Herman and Rosie.’
This wonderful little blurb captures the essence of Gus Gordon’s magnificent new picture book, Herman and Rosie.
From the moment I set eyes on the stunning cover of Herman and Rosie, I fell in love with this book. Every time I see it I want to read it again. You know that this is a story that Gus loved bringing to life because you can see all the love that has gone into the creation of the book. Each page is so detailed and filled with different characters. One of things I love to do in Gus’ books is find all the different characters on each page. For example, on one page, there’s a bear on a scooter, a fox and a mole in suits, and a mother hippo taking her baby for a walk. One of the things I especially love about the illustrations in Herman and Rosie is the different media that Gus has used on each page. You can see he has used pencil, crayon, water colour paints, photos of objects, coffee cup stains, bits of newspaper and advertisements, and postcards (among various other bits and pieces). He’s used all of these different types of media in interesting and imaginative ways to achieve different effects on the page.
The story is all about the two characters of the title and Gus really brings them to life. I think the reason I love the story so much is because both Herman and Rosie are interesting and quirky characters. I really like the way that Gus describes them and their likes. Herman likes ‘pot plants, playing the oboe, wild boysenberry yoghurt, the smell of hotdogs in the winter and watching films about the ocean,’ and Rosie likes ‘pancakes, listening to old jazz records, the summertime subway breeze, toffees that stuck to her teeth, singing on the fire escape…and watching films about the ocean.’ By telling us their likes, we figure out that they’ve got something in common. It’s a story filled with hope and it and leaves you feeling incredibly happy. It’s guaranteed to cheer anyone up and put a spring in their step.
Teachers or school librarians who are looking for great picture books for older readers should add Herman and Rosie to their collection. Older readers will enjoy the story and they’ll love the intricate illustrations.
Herman and Rosie truly is a book to treasure and to read over and over again. It will make your toes tingle and make you feel like you have ‘eaten honey straight from the jar.’
5 out of 5 stars