Sunday, September 14, 2014

Reader's Diary #1066- Michael Ian Black (writer), Debbie Ridpath Ohi (illustrator):

Written by Michael Ian Black, who is also a comedian, actor, and director, I'm Bored actually was presented to me because of its Canadian connection: illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Based out of Toronto, this was her first children's book collaboration, though she's since done another book with Black as well as updates of Judy Blume classics.

My hat's off to the publishers who saw the potential in Black's script. About a girl who tries her best to convince a potato (yes, a potato), that she's anything but boring, I could have perhaps foreseen potential to have irreverent humour and strong themes of imagination, but the text is so minimal I think I'd have either rejected it outright or else sent Black back with instructions to flesh out the story more. Both would have been a mistake. The secret, as the publisher knew, was finding the right illustrator to capture it's simplistic, fun spirit and add a little in the process. With Ohi, the book strikes the perfect balance in a picture book and the result is more than the sum of its parts.

Scraggly and basic, Ohi's cartooning is nonetheless stylish, inventive, and expressive. She also adds to the story with muted blue pastels expressing the imagination of the girl with more detail than provided by Black's text. The end result is charming and amusing package.

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