OK. Let me just get it out there…

About 10 years ago I wrote a children’s story about a boy and his snit. The snit is disembodied from the boy; it’s an actual thing that he gets in and out of, and it gets bigger or smaller depending on the severity of the provocation. My intention was to illustrate the damn thing, but it never got past the ‘why don’t I clean out my closet’ stage of the creative process. Now, here is a book, Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood, which is similar in the sense that the rabbit’s bad mood is an externalized grey thing that follows him around, “lying in his living room, on his sofa, picking its nose and wiping its boogers on his carpet.” No boogers in my book, but you see my point. And…Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood is truly wonderful; funny…silly, and the illustrations are, well, the illustrations are done.

Delphine Durand is a French artist who has a particular and admirable talent for noses. Durand’s illustrations of pendulous probosci are what attracted me to her previous books, Beetle Boy and Peter Claus and the Naughty List. It’s a peculiar thing to possess such skill in the humourous depiction of noses, but it’s just one part of a larger gift for characterization. Her little creatures, beetles, dolls, children, rabbits, to name a few, are crazy funny and deliciously strange. Delphine is one of those artists whose stylistic influence is so strong you can see it creeping into other peoples work. But then, she keeps exceeding herself, as in Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood.

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