Book review: L’herbier des fées, par Sébastien Perez et Benjamin Lacombe

Book Reviews

(In English here!)

Cette semaine je vous partage un autre de mes livres favoris: L’herbier des fées, écrit par Sébastien Perez et Benjamin Lacombe. J’aime comment ce livre est tombé dans ma collection: Il y a fort longtemps, lorsqu’il était possible de visiter les bibliothèques publiques, j’ai aperçu ce livre sur la table de livres à vendre. La bibliothèque municipale faisait de la place et vendait les livres un peu abimés, peu empruntés, trop vieux… À plusieurs reprise, j’ai feuilleté ce livre, redéposé. De retour à la maison, je me suis dit que s’il était encore là la prochaine fois, je le prendrais. Après tout, 50 sous pour un livre, je ne risquais pas grand chose. Et bien, je suis retournée à la bibliothèque le lendemain parce que ce livre était bien pris dans ma tête: ce sont les 50 sous que j’ai le mieux investis! J’aime que le livre ait une histoire et que plusieurs enfants l’aient regardé avant moi.

Benjamin Lacombe est probablement l’illustrateur le mieux représenté dans le monde de l’illustration contemporaine. Lorsque je vivais à Montréal, il était difficile de passer devant une librairie sans voir un de ses livres en vitrine. Et c’est tout à fait compréhensible. Ces illustrations sont magiques et quelque peu dérangeantes avec tous ces personnages aux yeux gigantesques qui sembles vous suivre du regard. Il a un style bien reconnaissable et absolument fantastique.

A travers ce livre, on découvre de nombreuses fées de la forêt de Brocéliande. Elles sont toutes originales et j’adore l’univers imaginaires présentés qui semble peu à peu dévorer le personnage principale du livre, et du même coup, le lecteur et la lectrice. Cet effet est accentué par le fabuleux travail d’édition: feuilles découpées, papier semi-transparent, format généreux. Tous les effets sont présents pour créer une expérience de lecture agréable et immersive.

L’histoire est fascinante et on s’attache facilement au personnage principal. Envoyé par la Russie pour étudier les créatures magiques de la forêt de Brocéliande, notre scientifique est peu à peu absorbé dans cet univers merveilleux (et aussi un peu inquiétant). Le détail des illustrations fait de chaque page un plaisir à explorer, encore et encore.

De nombreux livres dans ma bibliothèque traitent des fées, mais je trouve que celui-ci fait preuve d’une imagination très riche et unique. On reste loin des clichés de poupons ailés, et on découvre des fées bien vivantes, uniques et ensorcelante. L’ambiance de mystère et de magie est présente dès les premières pages et rend ce livre tout à fait captivant.

Finalement, ce livre est à ajouter à toutes les bibliothèques de livres pour enfants (et pour grands) qui aiment la nature, les fées, la magie et le mystère. Les amoureux du papier seront aussi impressionnés par la réalisation du livre et la qualité du travail d’édition. Pour finir, une version numérique interactive a également été publiée pour les lecteurs du futur.

L’herbier des fées, par Sébastien Perez et Benjamin Lacombe, Albin-Michel

Version numérique en français

Pas encore disponible en anglais malheureusement!


Book review: L’herbier des fées, by Sébastien Perez and Benjamin Lacombe

This week I share another of my favorite books: L’herbier des fées, written by Sébastien Perez and Benjamin Lacombe. I like how this book fell into my collection: A long time ago, when it was possible to visit public libraries, I saw this book on the table of books for sale. The public library made room and sold books that were a little damaged, not much borrowed, too old… On several occasions, I flipped through this book, put it down again. Back home, I told myself that if it was still there next time, I would take it. After all, 50 cents for a book, I wasn’t risking much. Well, I went back to the library the next day because the book was stuck in my head: it was a very well spent 50 cents! I like that the book has a story and that many children have looked at it before me.

Benjamin Lacombe is probably the best represented illustrator in the world of contemporary illustration. When I lived in Montreal, it was hard to walk past a bookstore without seeing one of his books in the window display. And that’s completely understandable. His illustrations are magical and somewhat disturbing with all these characters with gigantic eyes that seem to follow you with their gaze. He has a very recognizable and absolutely fantastic style.

Through this book, we discover many fairies of the Brocéliande forest. They are all original and I love the presented imaginary universe which seems to devour the main character of the book little by little, and at the same time, the reader. This effect is accentuated by the fabulous editing work: cut-out pages, semi-transparent paper, generous size. All the effects are present to create a pleasant and immersive reading experience.

The story is fascinating and one easily becomes attached to the main character. Sent by Russia to study the magical creatures of the forest of Broceliande, our scientist is little by little absorbed in this marvelous (and also somewhat disturbing) universe. The detail of the illustrations makes each page a pleasure to explore, again and again.

Many books in my library deal with fairies, but I find this one exhibits a very rich and unique imagination. We stay away from the clichés of winged infants, and we discover fairies that are alive, unique and bewitching. The atmosphere of mystery and magic is present from the very first pages and makes this book quite captivating.

Finally, this book is to be added to all book collections for children (and older children) who love nature, fairies, magic and mystery. Paper lovers will also be impressed by the book’s realization and the quality of the publishing work. Finally, an interactive digital version has also been published for readers from the future.

L’herbier des fées, par Sébastien Perez et Benjamin Lacombe, Albin-Michel

Version numérique en français

Not yet available in English unfortunately!

Book review: A Natural History of Fairies, by Emily Hawkins and Jessica Roux

Book Reviews

A few weeks ago, I shared Jessica Roux‘s beautiful book Floriography. Well, this week she is back again with another incredibly beautiful children’s book on fairies: A Natural History of Fairies, written by Emily Hawkins.

When I saw this book in the shop window, I knew I needed to bring it home with me. The cover itself is incredible: dark green fabric embossed in gold. It feels like a magical book you’d find in an old trunk in an abandoned house attic.

Every little detail is important and has been thought-through. The book starts with a letter inviting the readers to follow the observations of a woman naturalist who studied fairies.

Each page is filled with wonderfully detailed illustration by Jessica Roux and presents different types of fairies, their life cycles and habitat. I really enjoyed this because it fully embraces a naturalist’s perspective. It would be a wonderful book for kids to explore different habitats around the planet as well as get curious about animal life cycles. Fairies are a great way to underline the magic that is in our world, and this book uses that fully by presenting fairies that live in different plants and take care of different natural phenomena and animals.

The quality of the work is wonderful. I had a lot of fun in reading the book because it gives interesting information on different habitat and provides the reader with some hints as to where to find fairies. I think Hawkins really found the perfect balance between real information and imaginary content. It makes the book both informative and creative. It would be the perfect companion for any kid who loves natures and is interested in fairies.

This would make the perfect gift for any young reader who loves to observe nature and has the heart of a naturalist. The illustrations are rich and inviting, while the text is informative and interesting to read. The book itself is a beautiful object that any avid reader will be please to display and cherish for years to come.

A Natural History of Fairies, by Emily Hawkins, Illustrated by Jessica Roux, Quarto Knows Books