Hic! / An Indian Beach by Day and Night

Anushka Ravishankar and Christiane Pieper
Tara Books
I’m a big fan of Tara Books for many reasons; two of the most important being first: they’re unfailingly innovative and the production quality is always exemplary; second: their base is Chennai, and I’m a total India freak.
Specialising in writing nonsense for children, the author of this picture book has been dubbed the Indian Dr Seuss and nonsense Hic! truly is.
Revolving around a little girl who is suddenly struck by a bout of hiccups – we all know how annoying they can be – she has concocted a totally crazy rhyme about ways she might, or might not, get rid of them.
Suggestions include the fairly un-risky daubing of mustard on your nose and trying to lick it; and shouting AWALLAGULLAGABUGGAMUGGCHICK!
Thereafter proceeding to vomit-inducing spinning round and round …

and standing on your head – a definite no-no for one so young, thinks the yoga teacher in me – to my favourite, potentially suicidal idea …

German illustrator Christiane Pieper supplies the hilarious visuals making the whole thing so much more than the sum of its parts; I love her restricted colour palette.
Another innovative offering from the same publisher is:

An Indian Beach By Day and Night
Joëlle Jolivet
Tara Books
In her wordless offering, based on her observations, artist Joëlle Jolivet takes us through twenty four hours on Elliot’s Beach, a location near the southern Indian city of Chennai.
Her linocut scenes, printed on a long, continuous strip that’s been carefully folded to fit inside a sturdy cover-cum wallet, can be viewed in folded form or opened right out to form a complete circle. (The back pocket flap shows the various ways the book can be opened to display the scenes.)
As day dawns on the first spread we see fishing boats on the shore while in the foreground, people are taking exercise, commuters travel in a cycle rickshaw while behind them on the sand animals feast on the discarded spoils of the fishermen.
Turn over and this is the scene …

As the day proceeds and the sun reaches its height, the crowds disperse, to return as daylight fades and evening comes. Darkness brings a temporary lull in activity until everything starts over the following dawn.
Printed only in black and white with a blue sea backdrop, this is a wonderful visual resource with a bounty of starting points for discussion and storying that can be enjoyed as it is, or coloured in.

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