Written and illustrated by Roisin Swales and published by Flying Eye Books, Big Hid tells the story of a turtle called Big and a squirrel called Little. Big and Little are best of friends and do everything together until one day Big hides and Little has to try and figure out how to make him come out of his shell.
Big Hid was originally created during Roisin Swale's final year studying at Manchester School of Art. Roisin graduated with a first class degree just last year and already has a few awards until her belt and now a book! One of the things I love about Flying Eye Books is they strike a good balance between working with big names in the industry and fresh talent - a balance which pays off with such literary gems as Big Hid. Since graduating, Roisin has relocated to Copenhagen in Denmark where she lives with 2 cats and a flock of ornamental birds and I can only assume that these new surroundings are bound to conjure up some more whimsical tales in future.
As first, when I read Roisin only graduated a year ago I was surprised as her illustrative style seems so refined. Her characters as so specific and compositions so deliberate that I assumed I was looking at the work of a seasoned pro. That said, Roisin's work definitely feels young and exciting. The digital methods used to create unusual textures and unusual colour combinations (swamp green and hot pink don't seem like they should work together somehow but they do) add a uniquely youthful quality to Roisin's creations.
The visuals are particularly important in books like Big Hid as it's minimal on text. However the book isn't just collection of pretty pictures as, whilst it is a short and sweet tale, it manages to cover some big issues. The themes of friendship and overcoming sadness are woven in to the book's narrative without interfering with it's chirpy overall vibe. For kids, this book is a winner as it can be a charming bed time story one second and a reference point for discussing woes the next. For adult picturebook fans, the theme can be appreciated in a different way as their is no better way to cheer up an illustration enthusiast than to hand them a beautifull book!
You can order a copy of Big Hid here.