paper furniture and a man called mr mustache

Sometimes when I feel a bit stressed, I get out my box of coloured card, a pencil, ruler, and my trusty Stanley knife, and I spend a couple of therapeutic hours making paper furniture.

A three-piece Modernist suite in red, yellow and black was the result of this afternoon's relaxing papercraft session.

It was the act of making a paper rabbit two years ago (the little chap is still around and posed in the image below) that first got me interested in paper models. Since then I've been slowly simmering an idea for a children's picture book about a mouse obsessed with the simplicity of Modernist interior design. The idea is to illustrate the story with scenes made predominantly from paper structures.

I always keep an eye out for inspirational picture books with illustrations that incorporate models and paper cut-outs, so when I saw that talented Swedish artist and blogger Camilla Engman (aka Studio Violet and Fine Little Day) had self-published  a picture book of exactly this sort called The Life of Mr Mustache, I promptly ordered a copy for my collection.

The book is about a man who has found himself in a rut and at a loss to explain why he feels so flat and listless. It is only when he recalls the pleasure he used to get from his youthful travels abroad that he decides to pack his bags and head off in search of adventure once more.

The story is sweet but the choice of words is by no means perfect. Perhaps something has been lost in the translation of the text into English.  The rhyming narrative is inconsistent, jarring, and just plain awful in parts. In fact, this is definitely a case where I would have preferred a wordless book that the reader adds the narrative to. The charmingly composed and beautifully photographed scenes of Mr Mustache in his home, and with his little paper friends, are just lovely and the images would stand alone perfectly well. That is certainly where Camilla Engman's talent lies, so I'll just enjoy looking at the pictures in this delightful little book.


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