Monday, June 13, 2011

Why I love the Peacock

If there's one local children's book I am most influenced by, in terms of illustrative vision, it's The Crane and the Peacock. The book is one of the series of Aesop's fables retold by Boots S.A. Pastor and illustrated by Jason Moss. Published by Lampara in 2003, the series is already out of print. You are probably one of the very fortunate ones if the books are already in your collection. I thought this book and series deserve a recognition, in honor of its groundbreaking feat to local children's book illustration.

The illustrations are so avant-garde and stylish, makes you think and feel it was made for an intelligent audience. The illustrator exploited every medium, technique, and style to create his rendition of Aesop's playful world. No matter how spectacular the illustrations were, it's unfortunate that such breakthrough was gone unnoticed by local readers.

I particularly liked The Crane and the Peacock simply because the visual narrative is not literal. Who would have thought of illustrating a story with animal characters to be portrayed by humans don in animal suits? A metaphor within a metaphor within a metaphor. That illustrative vision was way ahead of its time when local children's book illustration was all still about cuteness, regionalism, and colonialism.

If you are lucky to find copies in bookstores somewhere, grab this treasure. And if you're lucky enough, have your collector's item signed by the artist.


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