December 22, 2014

A Treasury of Wintertime Tales / Das Wintermärchenbuch

When it's cold and dark outside and the candles are lit it's good to have a book like this at hand to read out to the kids or alone on the sofa. "A Treasury by Wintertime Tales" by Taschen contains 13 tales from around the world dating 1823 - 1972. Each tale is illustrated by a different artist, among them Beatrice Braun-FockIlona Karasz and Louis Slobodkin. The book is actually a collection of  the most beautiful picture books including stories about loosing mittens, snowflakes that come to life, the Chinese New Year, a Snow King and classics like "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement C. Moore.

I want to dive deeper into all those stories over the Christmas holidays. Some of the tales are a bit out of time of course and when reading them with my kids I reword or simplify some text passages because both are too young to know what a "dairyman" is or a "storm window". Some of the Christmas traditions they never heard of but together with the pictures the stories work very well. The book is edited by Noel Daniel and published in German and English.

Merry Christmas to you my dear readers! Thanks a lot for sending me your wonderful books and thanks so much for your support and feedback here and over there!

Most I would love to have the original edition by "Too many mittens" (below), written by Florence Slobodkin and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin in 1958.

December 12, 2014

Berlin Wonderland: Wild Years Revisited, 1990 – 1996

Yes, there was a time before Berlin became a city of the "Kreativitätsindustrie". Almost forgotten given the chic facades of Berlin's Mitte district nowadays. In the years right after the Wall came down in 1989 subcultures boomed in the abandoned ruins and streets where the border had divided the city into East and West. More than 200 black and white images on over 240 pages show how much Berlin-Mitte has changed since then. As David Wagner says in the preface: "They show the 'before'. The 'after' is visible in Mitte now, every day." So, it's great to have these photographs in this literally wonderful book.

I like the typeface a lot. It's Euclid Flex mixed-up (hidden, contrasted, dotted).

 Death strip in Northern Berlin, 1990, by Philipp von Recklinghausen

 Ernst-Thälmann-Park, 1993, by Rolf Zöllner

 "Mutoid Waste Company", Reichstag, 199,2 by Philipp von Recklinghausen and Hilmar Schmundt

"Berlin Wonderland" is the first publication by bobsairport, a photo agency run by Anke Fesel and Chris Keller. Visit the website to read more about the photographers and "protagonists" of Berlin's "wild years". The book is distributed by Gestalten. All interviews and quotes are in English and German. To purchase a copy click here or here.


The images above and below as well as the cover and many more are by Ben de Biel, co-founder of the "Ständige Vertretung" nightclub in "Tacheles" (below), member of the "Elektronauten" and part of the "IM Eimer" collective. In 1998 he founded the club "Maria am Ostbahnhof".

December 09, 2014

Dieter Braun: Die Welt der wilden Tiere

Another book for children and adults alike. "Die Welt der wilden Tiere", published by Knesebeck, is an encyclopedia and also a picture book. It contains more than 80 animal portraits with short descriptions and a nine page index showing every animal again in small format. I came across illustrator Dieter Braun before via his posters and fine art prints which are sold here and here for instance. For his animal illustrations he combines vector graphics to dynamic geometrical compositions which are never static and never boring to look at. The beauty of the wild packed in digital shapes and structures... As the book shows wild animals living in the southern hemisphere there might follow a second book presenting the animals of the north. I hope so (want to see some bears and elks).

December 03, 2014

Réka Király: Yksi vielä / Jenni Erkintalo: Värejä meressä

Napa Books updated their webshop with new silk screen prints, gift boxes and children's books like these two ones in Finnish by Réka Király and Jenni Erkintalo, the founders of Etana Editions

That's what Réka and Jenni say about their books: "We believe that from the front till the back cover, each picture, detail and even the empty pages are playing important role in defining the rhythm of the story. We trust in children's intelligence and imagination and that thinking has to be challenged from early age. Picture books are a meeting point for readers of different kinds, that children and parents can discover together."

Etana Editions have also a webshop with lovely postcards and prints.

Don't miss the annual Napa Flipbooks Competition and there's also a Napa bookshop in Helsinki.

(All images: