The debut children’s book from graphic designer and illustrator David Mackintosh hits on all levels – witty, wonderfully illustrated, a lot to look at, a lot to talk about, and great for kids starting school.
New kid at school, Marshall Armstrong looks different, acts different, and uses different looking stuff. He employs ink wells and pens with nibs, he rides a penny-farthing bicycle, he doesn’t own a television, he’s actually attentive in class, “his freckles look like birdseed on his nose,” and among other things, his foil wrapped lunch looks like astronaut food. But when his fellow classmates are invited to Marshall’s birthday party they discover he’s really a pretty fascinating guy. Marshall is still strange, but no stranger to a good time.
As a book it’s pretty fantastic, thick high-quality pages, bold colors, quirky illustrations and a great moral message. But it’s the subtle details that wink at things like ingenuity, food, hospitality, kindness, and even home design that really won me over. Organic carrot cupcakes, real lemonade made from lemons, playing happy birthday on a piano Marshall and his father built together, a fireman’s pole running through their house, bicycle-powered light bulbs, and my personal favorite, the narrator saving one of his nifty party favors to give to his mom.
(images: Ben Partridge)