Rascal (translated by Antony Shugaar)
Gecko Press

This story of the hatching of chick, Pablo is sheer delight. It begins with Pablo fast asleep spending his last night encased in his shell.

Come morning, he needs to gather his strength for the job of breaking free from the confines of his shell and how better than with some delicious breakfast of hot chocolate and a croissant?

That done, the creature within is justifiably feeling a tad apprehensive, though he’s eager to see what the world around has to offer. Best to start small he decides, making a tiny hole through which to peep. This is followed, after a glance all around, by a second hole. 

He continues his task making a hole for each ear, one for his beak so he can hear the wind and smell the perfume of flowers, a sixth and seventh for his legs. Now Pablo has all his senses and is able to hop. Then with holes eight and nine duly made, his wings are freed and whey-hey, he takes to the air – ‘not scared now!’

All that’s left to do is to get rid of that shell but you never know when you might need to take cover and so, Pablo saves a small piece …

I absolutely love this little character and the way the artist gradually reveals through stylised images, his anything but simple personality: Pablo stands out stark against the white background and it’s not until the final spread that we’re shown his yellow fluffiness. 

Visually arresting yes, but the text is cleverly constructed too: little humans will love joining Pablo in hearing the buzzing fly, caaawww of the crows and the whoooo of the wind, as well as flapping their wings along with the hatchling at the appropriate point in the story.

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