I’m a huge fan of Leo Timmers. I always look forward to his books because they are so clever. There are so many layers to the illustrations and you find something different every time you read his books. Leo’s latest book from Gecko Press is Gus’s Garage and it is terrific!
Gus the pig runs a garage. Gus stores all sorts of stuff in his garage, stuff that looks like rubbish, but when his friends need help, he always has just the right thing for them. It’s up to the reader to figure out what stuff Gus might use to help his friends. He certainly is one very clever pig. Rico the rhino comes by on his moped and says ‘Gus, this seat – I’m overflowing.’ Gus looks through his bits and bobs and attaches an old seat that he has to Rico’s moped. This carries on throughout the book until Gus has reused everything in his pile of stuff.
Gus’s Garage is another brilliant picture book from Leo Timmers. It is a picture book that is both entertaining and gets kids thinking. It makes them wonder what Gus will use from his pile of stuff to come up with a solution for his friends and then what might Gus’s final product be. I love the sense of anticipation as you turn the page to find out what Gus has done. I also love Gus’s refrain, ‘Let’s see. I have some bits and bobs. This goes with that. There. Just the job.’
One of the things that I love the most about Leo’s illustrations are the vibrant colours that he uses. His illustrations seem to shine on the pages. There are lots of details to take in on each page. Something I only noticed on my third or fourth reading was that the sky gets darker and darker throughout the story as the day gets later.
Gus’s Garage is a picture book that will be begged to be read again and again.
The wonderful Gecko Press introduced us to the remarkable Belgian picture book creator, Leo Timmers, when they started to publish his books in English. He is incredibly talented, not only as a storyteller, but also as an artist. His illustrations are vibrant and almost seem to jump off the page, so I can’t think of a better illustrator to create a picture book about an artist whose paintings become real.
Mr. Renny is a very good artist. Whatever he paints looks just like the real thing, but no one wants to buy his paintings. He has no money, and he’s hungry. One day a mysterious stranger offers to make Mr. Renny’s dreams become real. Now whatever he paints becomes real, including a hotdog, a car, and a ship. But what happens when his friend wants to buy one of his paintings?
The Magical Life of Mr. Renny is a colourful masterpiece that children and adults alike will love. Like Leo’s other books, including Who’s Driving? and I am the King, the illustrations are bright and vibrant, and he makes them look 3D so they jump off the page. This is one of those picture books that you want to pick up again and again just to stare at the illustrations and find what you might have missed last time you looked. Leo adds in lots of little details for you to find, like the goat who has dropped her eggs or finding all of Mr. Renny’s treasures in his mansion. The story itself is funny and thoughtful and would make a great read aloud. It promotes lots of discussion about art, greed and friendship, and you could have children talking for hours about what they would paint if their paintings became real. Local author, Bill Nagelkerke has done a fantastic job of translating the book into English and making it flow so well as a read aloud. Gecko Press’ books are always beautifully designed and this is no exception, from the front cover and the inside flaps to the back cover with its frame design.
Get your hands on the work of art that is The Magical Life of Mr. Renny by Leo Timmers.
5 out of 5 stars