Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

The Wonder by Faye Hanson

My picture book addiction carries on apace. I have no idea where this is coming from (even my children are FAR too old for picture books) but I’m very much enjoying the outcome. My picture book shelf is looking beautifully healthy these days. I discovered my latest purchase, The Wonder by Faye Hanson via the magic of Twitter. I don’t think there’s not nearly enough picture book chat on Twitter and I’m not sure why. I know plenty of parents who use Twitter and would no doubt be stopped in their tracks by a beautiful image, just as I was.

The Wonder is the story of an unnamed boy in a duffle coat whose head is full of wonder. He makes his journey to school, all the time wondering about the things he sees on the way. And all the time thwarted by grumpy non-wonderers. While he wonders where the birds are flying to, the park keeper tells him to keep off the grass. As he daydreams about who makes the clouds the bus driver grumbles at him to waken up. His life is full of wondering but at school he’s told not to daydream. Until he gets to art class and his imagination is let loose on the page.

This is an utterly stunning book. In all senses of the word. The visuals at the start are in muted tones all except the flashes of colour where the boys daydreams are highlighted. Once he’s in art class and he’s allowed to let his imagination run…wow, just absolute wow. This is really one of the most glorious, striking, beautiful books I’ve ever seen. The superlatives just don’t do it justice. This is the sort of artwork I adore, the soft focus, the intricate details, the life of it just leaps from the page.

The story too is quite subtle in its message, I think. Of course, I may be reading far more into it than is there…but then, as a grown up I’m allowed. The blackboard in the Art class reads, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up – Picasso.” For me this short picture book explains exactly how to do that. The art teacher with her encouragement of daydreaming and imagination, the boys parents with their loving support of his work all lead to the very last page and the boy in a much larger duffle coat who appears to have kept his sense of wonder.

For children this will help encourage their imagination. There is so much to look at, examine and discuss on every page. You could read it hundreds of times and still spot new thing on all the busy, beautiful pages. It’s the sort of book to pour over for hours and hours.  This really is a book of wonder.

This is a book for both grown up and children wonderers that will definitely remind you to celebrate your imagination.

Thank you to whoever Tweeted the link to The Illustrated Forest

More of Faye Hanson’s beautiful work can be found on her Website and her blog.

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve used to have full time job as a children's bookseller and she was the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love was definitely literature for children and teens, about which she has nerd-level knowledge. However she has since become involved in grown-up books and has co-written her first adult novel with Cath Murphy. Eve and Cath Podcast, blog and have far too much fun on their website Domestic Hell. Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website :

2 comments on “The Wonder by Faye Hanson

  1. Becca
    October 4, 2014

    Aw, that sounds like an amazing picture book! I love that Picasso quote. I know a few of the grumpy non-wonderers though…

  2. Eve Harvey
    October 5, 2014

    It’s superb! And hopefully (as I know a few too!) some non-wonderers will read it and find wonder 🙂

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2014 by in Entries by Eve, Fiction: children's.



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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