One & Everything

One & Everything
Sam Winston
Walker Studio

Here’s something strange, a story about endangered languages. Its main characters are circles of various colours and sizes, every one contains symbols, characters and script from a living or extinct language, each representing a story. These include stories about ‘beautiful sunsets’, the bottom of the sea whereas some are ‘simply full of dogs.’

All seem to co-exist peaceably until one story decides to become the most important story in the world. It calls itself One, the Only story and goes around the world’s story-verse consuming each and every other story, and thus filling its belly.

Therein however, something is happening: some letters get together to make words and eventually a voice speaks thus, “… you’re not the One story then. You’re Every Story.” This causes the One to come to an understanding and it then explodes into a myriad of stories. What’s left is a question. “Maybe you can answer it, ‘ asks the author …

The telling thus far has been minimal but what follows is the author’s note. This describes in some detail first the importance of preserving endangered languages and then introduces us to the linguistic characters that are shown in the illustrations. I’m not sure who the intended audience for this picture book is, but this reviewer certainly found it interesting.

A Child of Books

A Child of Books
Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston
Walker Books
I always thought I was the original ‘Child of Books’: certainly – thanks to my Dad – mine was a book-filled childhood. But it’s not so, and here’s the reason why: it’s a totally innovative and absolutely unique exploration of the power of story and storytelling that begins thus: ‘I am a child of Books. I come from a WORLD of stories.’ And thereafter, we are taken on an amazing journey of discovery that is also a celebration of classic tales from children’s literature.
Making up the waves of imagination upon which the girl and her raft float, are words from The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Count of Monte Cristo, Kidnapped, Gulliver’s Travels, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Pinocchio

Assuredly the girl has already sailed across a sea of words but she has an invitation to join her in further journeying, an invitation taken up by a boy who goes with her into a host of magical story worlds; worlds fashioned through the
combination of Jeffers’ powerful images and signature handwriting, and Winston’s masterful typographic word wizardry.
Together the two children scale mountains …

and explore dark places, treasure seeking; they get lost in a forest whose trees (leaves aside) are all fairytales …

and then have to escape from a monstrous word beast, resident of a haunted castle.
As the journey progresses through imaginary lands, the scenes become brighter until the children’s shouts from outer space herald a riot of story-comprised colour.

Everything about this wonderful volume is so carefully considered by this inspired pairing; for instance there’s the stark contrast between Jeffers’ hand-written, lyrical narrative and Winston’s digitally manipulated lines from the classics. Talking of classics, this ground-breaking book is surely destined to become a modern classic. One wonders whether its creators might have read Tom Phillips’ A Humument.
I could go on waxing lyrical about this intertextual wonder but let me merely urge you to get hold of a copy of your own (and some to give). Free your mind, be enchanted and also see how many of the 42 classics you can discover for yourself between its awesome pages. It’s truly a work of art and a celebration of the imagination.