• Sweetness in a world of brutes
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the paradise of the big arms, to the hell of the weaklings, to the lair of the strong!” “ is spread out in black and bold capital letters on the first double page. The aggressive typography contrasts with the delicacy of the illustration: an audience diluted with watercolors gazes with caution at the entrance to the “Palace of muscles”. The album continues in the sensationalist vein: “The atmosphere is explosive” between Wrestler of love – 1.76 m, 89 kg, 30 years old – and Stone Brick – 2.12 m, 118 kg, 27 years old -, the blows rain, we twist in pain, we propel ourselves to 20 meters from the ground … Until the moment when “Wrestler of love and Brick stone create a rare and unexpected figure”. And there, the book changes: we understand that the wrestlers are two dolls manipulated by a child and that he chooses to make them kiss in front of his audience of soft toys. No more commentary, the text fades to make room for the softness of the illustration and the ingenuous imagination of the child.
“Love wrestler”, by Gala Vanson, Seuil Jeunesse, 32 p., € 13.90. From 4 years old.
• Love at the party
As in Love wrestler, homosexual love is present without any form of comment. The difference is that here it is the starting point of the story: accompanied by two old ladies, the children Julian and Marisol are invited to a wedding, the brides of which are women. We do not know what family relationship unites these characters because the skeletal and elliptical text often leaves the illustrations to express the narrative. And what illustrations! The page of the kiss between black brides is a real painting, where the flower petals thrown by the children are engulfed in the ivory veil inflated by the wind and golden by the twilight. “A wedding is to celebrate love”, simply exposes the text. Julian and Marisol escape from the banquet, play in the mud, make a costume out of weeping willow branches. Then join the party to dance with the brides and the two elderly women. The strength of this album lies in the joy expressed on the faces, the cheerfulness of the colors, the atmosphere of love and celebration which sweeps away everything in its path.
“Julian at the wedding”, by Jessica Love, L’Ecole des loisirs-Pastel, 40 p., € 13. From 4 years old.
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