Thursday, February 27, 2014

levi pinfold and his "black dog"

levi pinfold

black dog

This is a terrific picture book. I would even call it a profound book because is can teach us such wonderful things about the power and resilience of even the very smallest person. The illustrations are brilliantly rendered, and rich with detail and atmosphere, color and setting. I was first introduced to this book because it was an Honor book for the Horn Book Award 2013. LA

A tall pink house stands in a snowy forest; outside is a big black dog. 

One by one the members of the Hope family see it and cower, and with every sighting the dog grows in size and fearsomeness until he is larger than the house itself. 

Finally it falls to the family’s youngest member, little Small, to address the problem. The little girl meets the by-now enormous black dog head-on and coaxes it to friendly, regular-sized compliance with bravery and a song. 

In most spreads small sepia panels illuminate the action on one page with a single bright, full color, full-page drawing opposite. The Hopes’ home is a hodgepodge of homey detail, rendered with exquisite texture and cluttered composition, where readers will enjoy searching among the dolls and decorations for repeating characters and parallel stories. 

The traditional feel of the cumulative telling and the art’s surreal precision and fanciful decay combine to offer a curious metaphorical consideration of what it means to be afraid and what it takes to conquer those fears. 

     THOM BARTHELMESS in Horn Book Magazine

BLACK DOG Winner of the 2013 Kate Greenaway Medal. The judges citation noted in particular the clever way that the big dog in the illustrations "pushes the text off the page."

Booklist said in a starred review, "An inner imp has rarely been so sweetly and savvily rendered."

Black Dog was also winner of the 2013 Horn Book Honor Award

Also by Levi Pinfold

Levi Pinfold's debut book, The Django

won a Booktrust Early Years Award. 

Michael Foreman described it as, 

"A virtuoso display of real drawing."


There's magic and music at the heart of this original and touching story. When Little Jean first comes across the Django he just sees a tricksy creature capable of causing absolute chaos. And, first by breaking Jean's father's banjo and later by playing all kinds of tricks around the farm, that is exactly what the Django does. Of course, Jean gets the blame for everything that goes wrong as no one else can see Django. If only he can go back to life before the Django.

Written as a tribute to the great musician Django Reinhardt, this is also a touching story for all. 
"What makes the book special is its painterly qualities; take, for example, the picture of the caravan, standing in summer grass next to a shed of stained corrugated iron. It is a fully imagined world. I liked, too, the fierce authenticity of the father's face." The Observer

Levi Pinfold was born in the Forest of Dean. From a young age he loved books and comics and spent many of his days drawing and writing his own stories. At the age of seven, Pinfold went to watercolour classes where he was introduced to the medium that he still works in. His love of stories, painting and the work of illustrators such as Maurice Sendak, Alan Lee and Dave McKean led him to study Illustration at the University College Falmouth, where he developed narrative illustrations in his own style - a stylised realism - creating his imagery from imagination.

The Django, his debut picture book, is inspired by Pinfold's love of music. He won The Booktrust Early Years Award in the Best Emerging Illustrator Category for 2010 for The Django. Levi is also one of 10 illustrators to win the Booktrust Best New Illustrators Award in 2011. His second picture book for Templar, Black Dog, was published in November 2011 to critical acclaim and recently won the Children's Book Award in the AOI Illustration Awards 2013. Levi is now living in Brisbane, Australia and working on a new picture book for Templar slated for 2014 publication.


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