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by Mohieddin Ellabbad & illustrated by Mohieddin Ellabbad & translated by Sarah Quinn

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-88899-700-0
Publisher: Groundwood

In their first English translation, these reproduced pages from the journals of an award-winning Egyptian illustrator and art director will introduce a wise, engaging and creative spirit. Loosely grouped around the theme of what has inspired him, Ellabbad adds postcards, photos and small prints to his own cartoon drawings on each page, then fills the spaces with comments in Arabic script—either dashed off in crooked lines or more formally composed—that are translated in narrow columns to the side. He covers diverse topics, from the value of random souvenirs, or of just looking, to observing how illustrators in other countries have depicted cats, his childhood dreams (“I am very lucky to have found this career, because now I can draw myself as the streetcar driver I always wanted to be.”) and the beauties of Arabic bookmaking. That last is further evoked by the volume’s “back-to-front” design and right-to-left visual orientation. Really just a gathering of random remarks, this won’t draw a large audience, but it may spark an interest in what children in other countries read. (Nonfiction. 8-10)