Springtime is a great time for Access2books. Random House Children’s Books granted them permission to publish Croc and Bird written and illustrated by Alexis Deacon.
Access2book’s will publish this popular children’s book as an accessible book in giant print [75 point] with Braille and specially adapted pictures for people who happen to be either blind or visually impaired.
Croc and Bird explores several themes: the first is differences; second, friendship, and third is the meaning of true family.
These are all issues, not in the particular order above, that confront us all at some point in our lives.
The kernel of the story is captured in the opening lines:
Two eggs lie side-by-side on a sandy beach: one hatches to reveal a crocodile and the other a bird. The two creatures grow up together as brothers – Crocodile learns to sing and tries to fly, while his brother, Bird, learns to float in the sea and bask in the sun.
It is from this paradox at birth that the two animals’ lives become entangled and from where they must each understand more about themselves and appreciate the special bond they share or severe their ties.
The narrative is relatively simple but the underlying subtext and themes make it even more complex than it appears on face value.
This is what Deacon does best. He is a great storyteller with a great ear for rhythm and narrative development.
Deacon’s illustrations, one of the Booktrust’s 2008 Best New Illustrators, are visually sumptuous and sophisticated.
They compliment the written word. He is equally adept at using pictures or words to tell the story.
Who is Alexis Deacon?
Deacon is a graduate of the University of Brighton. He earned a first class honours degree in Illustration. As mentioned above, he was named as one of Booktrust‘s Ten Best New Illustrators.
Another book he wrote but he didn’t do the illustrations, Beegu – the story of an alien lost on earth, was named as the New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.
It also earned the shortlist for the Kate Greenway Medal. A book on which he illustrated, Jim’s Lion, is also on the shortlist for this year’s Kate Greenaway Medal : it was written by Russell Hoban.
Alexis Deacon: man of many talents
When he is not writing his own books, he is experimenting with other projects in the pipeline such as comics. He is also in demand as an illustrator of the books of other authors.
In October 2014, his comic, The River, won the Observer/ Jonathan Cape/ Comica Graphic Short Story Prize.
It is no wonder why his talent and skills are in high demand. The Financial Times endorsed him as, “Alexis Deacon is a young author-illustrator of quite impressive originality and depth“. Consequently, such high profile acclaim has made him a much sought out figure in the industry.
Deacon is a busy man. When he is away from the bright spotlights of the industry, he shares interesting insights and expertise on his blog which you can access on the aforementioned link.
Works of Alexis Deacon
It is a wonder how he gets anything done because he seems to have his hands in a lot of pies. He has worked on no less than ten books either as an author, or illustrator or both.
Some of these titles include Slow Loris, Jitterbug Jam, While You Are Sleeping, Soonchild, A Place to Call Home and Henry Finch to name a few. That is not the conclusive list. There are probably many more to his name.
He wrote his first book when he was around the age of five. However, it was not published. The first book he wrote and published was Slow Loris.
He has written about seven books but illustrated a lot of others for many different authors.
What does this mean for Access2books?
It is great news to publish a book by an illustrious author and illustrator who is making waves in the publishing industry.
His books are highly recommended by many libraries and they allow Access2books to continue publishing the most popular children’s books in the UK.
The greatest benefit of publishing children’s books like these is that the themes Alexis Deacon’s books tackle such as family, identity and friendship are issues Access2books are passionate about.
Going forward, Access2books is looking to publish children’s books that are more diverse and deal with different family setups or structures. Their Festival Time Series books illustrate this direction.
One of the books, Four Special Questions, that forms a series of eight books collectively known as the Festival Time Series. The series tackles different religious festivals and describes what they about, what happens and how they came to be.
Therefore, Alexis Deacon’s children’s books fit in perfectly with the future plans of Access2books which makes publishing Croc and Bird so exciting.
Watch this space for more updates.
P.S. Lost and Found written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers is now out and ready to be ordered here. Up and Down also by the same author and illustrator is now in the final stages of production and should be ready within a week or two. We will keep you updated.