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.
I’ve been a huge fan of Leo Timmers ever since Gecko Press first introduced us to his work when they published Who’s Driving? Each book of Leo’s that Gecko publishes seems to be funnier and more clever than the last. Leo’s latest book from Gecko, Bang, is his best yet.
Bang is virtually wordless but Leo Timmers proves that you don’t need words to tell a hilarious story. It all starts with a book-loving deer who is driving his car while reading. Everyone knows that’s a bad idea and that it’s not going to end well. What starts off with one ‘Bang,’ quickly escalates into a multi-vehicle pile-up, with animals, food, clothes, and paint ending up in one huge mess.
I absolutely love this book! Leo brings his characters to life in his characteristic, vibrant illustrations. I love how each of the animals have their own distinct personality and a vehicle that seems to be a perfect match for them and their outfit. The cat has a very small, pink car and the rabbit has a very long car to fit all her children. Leo’s characters also have very expressive faces that portray all sorts of emotions throughout the story, from the horrified expression of the pig before he crashes, to the stressed expression of the mother rabbit.
There is a wonderful sense of anticipation throughout the whole book. Each time a new character crashes you wonder what effect it will have on the other characters, and it often has unexpected results. The sign of a excellent picture book is being able to turn the page and not know what will happen next. Just when you think you know how the story will end, Leo surprises you. Each time you read the book you’re bound to find some quirky detail you didn’t see last time.
The book has been beautifully produced by Gecko Press, with delightful end-papers and the wonderful fold-out page right at the end. One of the reasons I love Gecko Press picture books is that they produce beautiful hard-back editions that will be treasured for many years, and this book is no exception.
Bang is a picture book that adults will love just as much as children and you’ll want to read it again and again. Thank you Gecko Press for bringing us the magic of Leo Timmers!
Win a copy of Bang
Thanks to Gecko Press I have a copy of Bang to give away. All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below. Competition closes Friday 10 May (NZ only).
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