Review Blog

Oct 23 2017

Niko draws a feeling by Bob Raczka

cover image

Ill. by Simone Shin. Carolrhoda Books, 2017, ISBN 9781467798433
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Emotions. Feelings. Drawing. Writing about emotions and feelings is always fraught but the author and illustrator here have presented a book about emotions that younger readers will grasp. A gentle book filled with line drawings Niko has made to represent how he feels, children may not understand what Niko is trying to show with his drawings, but will appreciate that he loves to draw and each drawing represents something he has heard, seen or felt. Children will recognise with ease the misunderstandings between children and adult as each person puts their own interpretation on Niko's drawings. He draws the ting- a-ling of the icecream truck, for example and his peers tell him that it looks nothing like the icecream truck. He explains that it is the ting-a-ling, not the truck, and still they do not understand. Moments like this appear throughout the book, causing laughter of recognition amongst children as they recall being unable to explain things to other people. They will certainly understand the feeling of being misunderstood, and of trying to communicate ideas with other people.
The mix of media used in the illustrations will attract younger readers, seeing things in the stylised children's art work that they will recognise and attempt to emulate. I love the spirals and lines of colour weaving their way from one endpaper to another, covering the whole of the book from start to finish. Children will love following the lines as they seem to pull the pictures together, and they, like Iris will be drawn to Niko's work. A most unusual and engaging picture book for art lovers.
Fran Knight

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