In The Lines on Nana's Face, Simona Ciraolo's latest release with Flying Eye Books, , the worried-looking lines on a grandmothers face are transformed through the power of imagination to become wrinkles of wonder which hold all of her most precious memories.
In terms of scale, the book's story is both big and small as it tells both the the entire life story of an old woman and the story of a short conversation between her and her granddaughter. This gifts the book a uniquely emotive tone; the short, charming scene brings warmth and humour whilst flashbacks to the woman's youth add an element of surprise and wonder to proceedings.
The contrasting themes of the book - young and old, past and present - are mirrored in Simona's stunning artworks. Simona's illustration style consisting of equal parts smooth, watercolour shapes and rough, textural lines is the perfect fit for a story all about skin. Each of the layers in each artwork - from the roughly-sketched wrinkles to the brightly painted, nostalgic memories - all feel spontaneous and exciting. This echoes the books positive, life-affirming moral - you should treasure the wrinkles life has given you as much as you do the memories.
Recently, I wrote an article all about Simona's work for the Flying Eye Books blog (which you can read here) where I took a look at all three of the books she has released with the publisher. As Simona is one of my favourite illustrators, this process was a joy to do plus I drew some comparisons I hadn't noticed before. The main thing I noticed was how all of Simona's books take everyday life experiences and turn them into magical ones. From trying to make friends to losing touch with family and coping with the signs of ageing, these are everyday tales, told through a much more magical lens.
One thing I didn't tap into during my exploring is that this "magical lens" is in fact the eye of a child. Whether it is of a cactus or human variety, each tale's young protagonists gives it a youthful optimism as well as a sense of whimsy and intrigue. This is most important in The Lines on Nana's Face as it highlights the book's most important take away; not only should the young respect and admire the experience and wisdom of their elders but the older generation should always remember just how brilliant and uplifting a child's imagination can be.