|Running Press, 2014|
Connah Brecon is the author/illustrator of FRANK, a picture book scheduled for release September 30.
This quirky, whimsical picture book features a cast of human and animal characters who all function as equals- going to school, playing instruments, conducting fund-raisers, etc. The seemingly simple illustrations are sprinkled with offbeat details and secondary characters which suggest stories of their own.
This establishes a background for the paradoxical text. The stage is set for predictability with simple statements in typewriter font:
"Frank was late. Frank was always late."
Secondary text within speech bubbles in art-style font lead the story in less mundane directions- runaway trees and news headlines about rampaging reptiles are just the start.
Frank's chronic tardiness at school is caused by his good-hearted efforts to resolve these unconventional problems as they arise. Kids will enjoy the slightly off-center art, the blending of familiar (running late for what seem to be perfectly good reasons) with the bizarre (ogres and dragons). They'll also explore the visual details for hidden humor, including clever facial expressions, birds with earphones, and word play.
There are quite a few direct messages in this short story: help those in need, work together, and, of course, try to be on time. I doubt these will be the reason kids enjoy this book, or return to it, or share it with others. My guess is that the true appeal will be likable FRANK and his unique story-mates.
Take a look for yourself as soon as this becomes available and see what you think.