Email Digest: Friday, 13 September

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Top Tweet: Car stolen for copy of Patched! True story. Chap in Palmy’s car stolen. He told police only attractive thing in it – book on the front seat.
(from @AUPBooks)

Book reviews
Book Review: Hannah’s Night, by Komoko Sakai

If you are in Auckland, support the city mission with ‘Locals Trade’ – a can for a coffee

Paula Green gives the Curnow reading this evening to open Going West:

Book News
Best shortlist ever? What do you think?

Your thoughts on how to support Eleanor please… on our facebook page!

J.K. Rowling is writing a Harry Potter spin-off film

From around the internet
Incidentally, our review of Hannah’s Night indicates it would be just the book to put aside this theory

Insanity. Author was due to present to a middle-school, gets cancelled for using bad language in book title.

Four new poems by Alice Oswald (check the righthand column)

What are these classic kids’ books REALLY about?

Read an extract from Boy by @roald_dahl:

Book Review: Hannah’s Night, by Komoko Sakai

Some children’s stories feel destined for bedtime cv_hannahs_nightreading, and Hannah’s Night is one of them, with the framed images on each page becoming squares in a richly textured quilt. As the title suggests, the story is about Hannah, who wakes in the night to find everyone else deeply asleep. Accompanied by her feline partner in crime, Shiro, Hannah embarks on a quietly thrilling night of delights.

Komako Sakai is a well-loved and awarded children’s author, famed for books like Yoru Kuma (Night Bear), Emily’s Balloon and The Snow Day. She’s a graduate of the Tokyo University of the Arts, formerly a designer of kimono and traditional textiles. Her background is clear from the illustrations, and a real asset in terms of creating multi-layered images that are dense and touchable. The book’s images appear to be created from acrylic colour and oil pencils, with sweeping colours to produce a dreamy atmosphere, and more detailed drawings for objects and close-ups.

Sakai allows her images to take centre stage, with each framed illustration giving the sense of gazing through a window. This is particularly apparent when Hannah looks out from her bedroom at the neighbourhood, and we’re reminded about a child’s perspective on the world. The pictures perfectly evoke the pre-dawn light, formed around a palette of blues, greys and blacks. They provide a dramatic and carefully detailed depiction of Hannah’s surroundings. Also effective is the sense of movement created in both the cat and child’s forms, for instance as Shiro stretches out, or Hannah reaches across her sister’s bed.

The enchanting illustrations are complemented by a sweet narrative about Hannah’s minor transgressions in the night, stealing cherries from the fridge and borrowing her sister’s toys. There’s a sense of fun right through to the dawn break, at which point, young readers might rest their eyes and await their own nocturnal adventures.

Reviewed by Caitlin Sinclair

Hannah’s Night
By Komako Sakai
Published by Gecko Press
ISBN 9781877579547