Tuesday 16 August 2022

The Storytellers

The Storytellers by Robert Vescio, illustrated by Krista Brennan (IP Kidz)

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This picture book shows how stories shape lives. It begins with a small boy, Henry, who loves words and who grows up to be an author. It also encompasses numerous people from all over the world who are involved in telling stories, not only in words, but also in illustrations and film.

As an adult Henry posts off his manuscript: it is read by Alexia, a child reader who loves illustrations, and who, as an adult, ‘built a mighty publishing empire.’ Meanwhile, in a small remote village, Imani draws and colours. As an adult she catches the eye of a dark-skinned publisher. In an Asian kitchen, Seiko learns to read. This leads her to opening a shop ‘where stories ignite the imagination of young and old.’ Here Henry attends a book signing.

Another storyteller in this book is Jerome who likes the film things with his camera, which leads to him turning a children’s story into a movie masterpiece. One of these stories is The Dragon’s Lair, which was written by Henry. At the movie’s premier an illustration shows Henry, Imani, and Alexia. Meanwhile, in India, Ravi builds all sorts of things. He designs and creates an ‘extraordinary wonderland for guests, known as The Dragon’s Lair.

From a story written by Henry, other storytellers build worlds which connect with others. This book shows that whether it’s words on a page, a storyboard for a picture book or sketches on a screen, storytellers create, entertain and delight. The book ends with the words, ‘What’s your story?’, inviting the reader to also become a storyteller.

The final illustration is of a man with a sword on the back of a fire-breathing dragon. Throughout the book, starting with Henry, the writer, are illustrations – or suggestions of illustrations – of a green dragon. This is another link to each of the creatives who appear in the story.

The attractive illustrations appear to be computer-generated, though Brennan usually works in watercolour.

Vescio is an international award-winning author of children’s picture books with The Storytellers being his most recent. This book would mostly likely most appeal to readers aged 7+ years.


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