Louis – Night salad is featured in ArtReview this month (issue 46 Dec 2010). Here’s an excerpt:
These days we’re bombarded with animations or graphic novels that claim to amuse kids while offering a meta narrative to please adults. But few actually fulfil these promises as effectively as this Scottish duo’s hand-painted book.
Louis – Night Salad was reviewed in The Libary Journal in the US on October 29th:
A dream-quest theme persists throughout this colorful book [Louis – Night Salad], which brings to mind many classic, if somewhat less unsettling, adventures: Harold and the Purple Crayon and Where the Wild Things Are. Established fans will delight in this volume; like Louis, new readers will enter the story perplexed but exit with joy.— John Gehner, Library Journal
And The Big Issue has chosen Louis – Night Salad as their Big Pick of the week in Books, giving it a full page, in their Scottish and Welsh editions on November 1st, and the English edition will feature it on November 8th!
In the tradition of Little Nemo, Scotland-based creative team John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs of Metaphrog have brought forward a fanciful adventure story. Louis, the little hero from numerous previous Metaphrog titles, returns in a new stand-alone story perfect for young readers and the young at heart. Desperately searching a cure for his sick friend and automated pet FC, Louis embarks on a dreamy journey that is both real and fantastic: glass trees, impossible cliffs, cities beneath the desert, and a library which holds all knowledge in the world await him in the pages of Night Salad. The art is hand-painted and vibrant, at once inviting and enchanting. Older readers will pick up on fascinating undertones as John and Sandra define a world where fruit must be assembled and all suburban houses are identical. If you love the unusual and delight in the unique, I highly recommend this title as a candy-colored touch of joy for your library.
John wrote a Picture Stories feature for The Sunday Herald, which was published yesterday. John’s text was edited, and below the photograph is the original version:
The year must be 1956 and the photograph is of my father, David, standing in Antarctica where he spent two and a half years on an ordinance survey expedition. During the three months it took to travel there by boat he kept a diary, and on arrival continued writing and taking pictures. He also developed an interest in astronomy. Clear skies allowed him to watch the stars.
When Sandra and I met, before we started making comics and graphic novels, we produced a small number of copies of the diary. A typed version of the fragile, handwritten book would allow family and friends to read it more easily. Many of the photographs had never been seen by anyone other than my parents.
My father never referred to himself as an explorer, but after his journey, his passion for the outdoors remained and he established a small manufacturing business, The Clan Tent Company, in Greenock: a fifth floor factory. From childhood I recall an upside down room: eider down, floating a foot above the floor. Men from the local pub would help him unload supplies and carry out finished tents and sleeping bags. Determined, he convinced larger customers, including the Ministry of Defence, that he, with his wife’s help, could cope with larger orders. Eventually he was able to open a shop. In the 1970’s even long after my sister and brother were born secret soldiers would make their own way, faces mudded, to its door. He would continue to supply them and also mountaineers with bespoke survival equipment for many years.
When my dad died recently, the photograph and diary inevitably brought back memories, but his spirit lives on and both his life and his experience at the South Pole continue to provide an inspiration and even seep unexpectedly into our own books.
The Evening Times ran a double page spread today about our author visit at Knightswood Primary on March 4th. Almost the entire school had dressed up that day to celebrate World Book Day, and they gave us a really warm welcome. Over 450 pupils gathered in a big hall for what proved to be an extremely lively session. Pictured below are some of the children in disguise, with the Mad Hatter head teacher and Sandra holding a page from a Louis graphic novel. John had his anonymity preserved 🙂