Review

Book review: ‘Pyjamarama Funfair’ and ‘Pyjamarama Fever’ – Barrier-grid animation from Michaël Leblond and Frédérique Bertrand

‘Pyjamarama Funfair’ and ‘Pyjamarama Fever’, two fun new books from Thames and Hudson, introduce children to the wonder of animation in non-digital form.

In response to changing times, and rather picky customers, children’s author Michael Leblond and acclaimed illustrator Frédérique Bertrand have released this dynamic book duo, filled with awesome, printed animations and interactive pages, as the ultimate solution for when you cannot prise your child away from their smartphone.

These exciting new publications utilise an old graphic design technique to create a swirling, fun-filled world of moving pictures, without a hint of technology. In Pyjamarama Fever and Pyjamarama Funfair Leblond and Bertrand use barrier-grid animation, an effect created by moving a striped acetate overlay across an interlaced image, to create an optically illustrated world for children to interact with, and explore.

The Pyjamarama series tells the story of a little boy who puts on his pyjamas and turns out the lights to go to bed only to fall into a magical, dazzling dream world filled with bright colours and flashing lights. In the past Pyjamarama has taken children across the world to the sights of New York and Paris, but the newest additions to the series stay a little closer to home.

In Pyjamarama Funfair, our little friend finds himself in a magical funfair, where bright swirling lights, rampant rapids, twisting roller coasters and rough dodgems dart and dance across the page. In Pyjamarama Fever the same little boy is sent to bed feeling a little under the weather, before succumbing to a strange but dazzling delirium filled with strange shapes, shimmering stripes, swirling spots, and pyjama-clad firefighting mums and carwashing dads.

As our pyjama-clad hero dreams, children reading the book are able to interact with the images. Sliding the acetate sheet, which comes included with each Pyjamarama book, across the page brings the illustrations to life: cogs turn, lights flash, dots dance and waves flow with just a slight turn of hand. The images flickering across the pages, however simply explained, are pretty cool to say the least.

These innovative books are highly interactive and a great way of encouraging children to rediscover the magic of the printed word. The illustrations, which in themselves are pretty mesmerising, are awarded a whole new level of awesomeness when combined with the acetate sheet. It’s a simple, effective animation technique that children, and the majority of parents and carers, are sure to love – they certainly proved popular among the E&T editorial team.

So if you are looking for a new way to keep your children occupied outside of school, with the added benefit of giving them a break from digital technology and a chance to rediscover the magic of books, then look no further than a little Pyjamarama fun.

‘Pyjamarama Funfair’ (£9.95, ISBN 9780500651254) and ‘Pyjamarama Fever (£9.95, ISBN 9780500651155) by Michael Leblond and Frédérique Bertrand are published by Thames and Hudson

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