With 2014 comes a new title from the brief but brilliant children’s collection from the publisher Blackie Books, responsible for publishing ¿Quieres un chicle?, by the French author Anouk Ricard which was its first foray into the world of children’s literature last year. It is Soy un artista, by Marta Altés.
At Blackie Little Books they opt for children’s books that avoid stereotypes and morals; with a more relaxed, humorous, affectionate and, ultimately, respectful attitude towards children and the way that they understand and discover the world.
Soy un artista is a great ode to creativity and children’s instincts, which are yet to be worn down by rules, norms and social conventions that the world of adults sometimes forces upon children.
The charismatic star of this book is brimming with inspiration and has an insatiable taste for frescos, colors, textures and movement; there's not a wall or room that can resist him; for him, his house and the world at large are a huge blank canvas.
Dressed like Picasso and with a moustache like Dalí, he’ll wreak havoc with everything he finds in his path; everything inspires him. His anarchic nature and the genuineness of this artistic sentiment manage to captivate the readers, to seduce them and to put a big smile on their face. The text is brief and the illustrations are colorful and powerful; Marta Altés’ immense talent for combining colors, even when everything is topsy-turvy, results in a beautiful chaos.
Through a simple story, the author manages to reflect and embody the chaotic and anarchic spirit of a child’s creativity. A book that does not preach any morals, that does not judge any of its characters –that poor exhausted mother with whom any parent will be able to identify- and which allows us to understand both positions. An ambivalence that reinforces the sweetness and authenticity of the tender relationship between a mother and her son.
A vision of childhood that is far from the adultcentrism that we are used to seeing in children’s literature and which allows the child reader to identify with the characters in the story, with kids behaving like kids and leaving to one side lessons and values that are more at home in the world of education and pedagogy.
A great example of a children’s book that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults, like all the great classics of children’s literature. And the fact is that Marta Altés is on her way to becoming one of the great authors of our time.