Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Animal Supermarket by Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani, translated by Laura Watkinson

I was skeptical about the first book I saw from this pair, but I slowly fell in love with it. I was interested to see what they had next, and requested a galley of this title.

It was interesting. The endpapers are broad stripes of color, separated by sort of rolled on charcoal lines. The title page shows a table with a variety of foods, from tomatoes to bones to ice cream to potted flowers to a giant beetle. The first page begins "The Animal Supermarket sells only natural foods." and shows the supermarket surrounded by giant trees in animal shapes. The building itself has a sort of animal-head shaped tower. The story then goes through different shoppers, from the snail in the early morning getting "lettuce, kale, and herbs." to birds and ants taking advantage of a sale on crumbs, to the seal with "mackerel and cans of sardines." There's a meadow instead of a frozen food section where bees can shop, shelves of grubs and bugs for the monkeys, and a hazelnut tree, with the nuts hanging in little bags. At the end of the day the snail returns for mushrooms. The final spread shows thumbnails of each animals and the full table from the title page, asking "What does each animal eat?" There is a mustard-colored spread including the publication information and a note about the author, which is decorated with thumbnails of the food, and then the rainbow-striped endpapers end the story.

The art is different. Interesting, strange, not a perspective you usually see in most American picture books, but intriguing. Some of it is a little creepy, like the fox and mongoose walking off with a stolen chicken and eggs, or the giant beetles for the monkeys. It's colorful and unusual, catches the eye and makes you look twice. The text did not attract me - it felt clunky and awkward, almost like random sentences were added. Possibly that's the translation, or maybe that's the intent and style of the book.

Verdict: Intriguing, but I would call it an additional purchase at best.

ISBN: 9780802854483; Published 2015 by Eerdmans; F&G provided by publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewers

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