A Children's Book with a Difference
Published in The Mercury Bay Informer 2 March 2016
Whitianga artists Wendy Walls and Charlotte Giblin have just released the first of what they hope will be a new series of children’s books.
Lulu Moo and the Mystery of the Big Belly is based on a story inspired by the experience of Wendy’s son Tim, when he was a young boy. “We had a farm near Patumahoe, south of Auckland,” says Wendy. “The cows were calving and one kept getting bigger than all the others. She was still getting bigger after all the others had given birth to their calves.
“Tim was worried about Lulu Moo’s health and the story in the book explores this theme of caring and concern. It also takes a light- hearted look at issues surrounding healthy eating, exercise and weight loss.”
The book is striking, not just for the cartoon style characters of Tim, Lulu and the others Charlotte created, but also for the vivid colours and the different textures of the backgrounds Wendy painted. “Part of what I do is to explore a wide variety of different media and techniques when I create a painting or a print,” says Wendy. “There is a wealth of different colours and hi-tech paints being created now which have amazing properties. They’re fun to use and allow for some interesting effects in the finished art.”
Before coming to New Zealand in 2009, Charlotte had a pottery business in England called “Bouncing Pig Pottery,” where she hand-painted cartoons of animals onto all the mugs and bowls she created. Her Lulu Moo characters have grown from those pottery paintings. “Each illustration in the Lulu Moo book is a collage,” says Charlotte. “I drew the cartoons on watercolour paper, painted them, cut them out, placed them on Wendy’s background artwork and moved them around to get the perfect position. Then I took the pages outside into full sunlight to photograph the completed artwork.”
The finished product is a visual feast, 40 pages long, with two distinctly different styles which somehow complement each other and make this a cut above your average children’s book.
Lulu Moo and the Mystery of the Big Belly is published by Aries Publishing, a Mercury Bay publisher which specialises in educational, sport and leisure books. The retail price of the book is $25 plus postage and handling fees. The book can be ordered from the Aries website www.ariespublishing.co.nz.
For those who wonder, the mystery of why Lulu Moo was bigger than the other cows is cleared up in the book.