Reviews /

I Love Books

Authored by Mariajo Ilustrajo
Illustrated by Mariajo Ilustrajo
Published by Quarto Publishing PLC

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I Love Books is heartwarming story that shows us how the power of a good book can open up the world of reading and the many worlds we can encounter within them.

The story revolves around a little girl who starts her school holiday with a parting message from her teacher, ‘Enjoy your holidays, and don’t forget to read a book!’ We turn the page to find out her response, ‘But I HATE books’. She arrives home with this news, which prompts a trip to the library with her mum. Needless to say, she turns down every book she looks at until her mum hands her a book to try that she read when she was young. And so, the reading adventures begin.

The pages that follow change in colour. Up until now the palette has been shades of grey and beige with splashes of neon. Now we see brightly coloured spreads of our now avid reader entering lots of different worlds that the books open up for her: a jungle, a cave, a forest, tea at the home of mischievous witches and much more. When she emerges from the book, the page ends with, ‘And just like that, I was transformed into a story adventurer’ and the book ends with her back at the library to find another book.

Mariajo Ilustrajo is an award-winning picture book writer and illustrator. Her debut picture book, Flooded, won the 2023 Klaus Flugge Prize for the most exciting and promising newcomer to children’s picture book illustration. Her second picture book, Lost, is shortlisted for The Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration 2024. Here again, in her third book, we see how her illustrations bring the story to life. As Mariajo Ilustrajo did in Lost, she has once again used panels and squares of different images to emphasise different parts of the story. This works particularly well in this story when we see our main character interacting with friends, family, pet and characters in the story and also when we see her reading in lots of different places and positions. Mariajo, captures this really well in the endpapers too. We see our heroine drawn  at the beginning with lots of different tech devices, in the beige/grey hue then at the end reading in lots of different places and this time brightly coloured. Throughout there is a playfulness in the illustrations, such as seeing characters from books popping out of the shelves in the library. These are lovely places to stop with children and ask them to find them and identify who they are together.

I Love Books is a book that will charm everyone who reads it and will appeal particularly to young children from 3 years upwards. It is a book to share in both the classroom and at bedtime and one to return to again and again and who knows, it may inspire a whole new generation of story adventurers!