Rapido’s Next Stop by Jean-Luc Fromental, illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet is the latest dose of medicinal reading, helping me manage my chronic condition (Biblio-urbanitus: Having a huge weakness for illustrations of cities).
A lift-the-flap book (translated from French and created by the same team as behind that all time favourite of ours which is 365 Penguins), Rapido’s Next Stop follows a day in the life of a a delivery van.
Rapido travels the length and breadth of a continental looking city making a huge variety of deliveries – from globes to cash registers, baseballs to balls of wool. At first glance the book appears to be virtually wordless, but then the reader discovers the flaps, and inside each flap a little game:
Short rhymes are completed with pictures, as if written in a code: It’s just one of the many playful aspects of this book. Published in a large format (bigger than A4 – which is always exciting even if it makes it tricky to put on shelves), the illustrations are especially appealing; whilst they are bold (with lots of thick black lines and sparing use of just 4 colours), they are also detailed. The flap locations on each page are not immediately obvious and searching for them is another game-like part of this book.
The illustrations and playful nature of this book are why you should definitely seek it out. The text, as I believe the examples above show, is a weak point. The rhymes are often somewhat clunky, and even where they do work, it’s clear this books has been translated for a North American audience rather than a British one e.g. the use of “yarn” rather than “wool”, “theater” rather than “theatre”, and “tire” rather than “tyre”. As a result this book is neither an easy read aloud (even now I am familiar with the text I find my tongue tripping), nor an straightforward book for a young (non North American) reader to read themselves.
Whilst the text is a disappointment, the book is still very much worth seeking out. If you have a child who loves “brrrrmmmming” their toy cars around, this book will have an additional appeal. Even if you don’t have a vehicle fanatic in the family this is a joyous, playful book, so gorgeous (despite its shortcomings) we bought our own copy.
Jolivet creates her wonderful illustrations by printing lino cuts. I had never tried actual lino cutting with the girls before so this seemed like a good opportunity to try it (we’ve done printing using polystyrene trays, but not actual lino).
Quickly it became clear that the actually lino cutting was too difficult for the girls, so we adapted our plans.
The girls draw designs for buildings on the lino and I then cut them out.
Once ready, the girls printed out their buildings, altering the order to change their streetscapes. If I had had more time I would have stuck the lino pieces to blocks of wood to make it easier for the girls to handle them (picking up the relatively thin sheets of lino without leaving inking finger tips was something of a challenge for them).
Not the easiest of activities we’ve ever done together, but the end results were still satisfying enough for the girls to insist on hanging their pictures in their bedroom.
Whilst we made our linoprints we listened to:
Other activities which would work well alongside reading Rapido’s Next Stop include:
Do you have a favourite illustration of a city, or a favourite description of a town? Are there books you love, despite them being flawed?