Posts Tagged ‘Christoph Niemann’

That’s How

Christoph Niemann | Greenwillow Books 2011

There are three reasons why That’s How by Christoph Niemann is a top shelf book. The first is the use of x-ray vision. An often-overlooked visual trick that is never lost on a kid—or me for that matter. With all the technology in the world, seeing through things still ranks #1! The second is Christoph’s mind—since most kids want to know how things work—why not show them in a way that is both ridiculous and believable at the same time. The ideas in this book are born only out of a brain that dreams in the absurd and a hand that can make them real. The third are the illustrations. Loosely and graphically painted with minimal detail and bright and playful colors—they focus our attention on the basic mechanical operation of each machine, then surprise us with hilarious animals inside getting the job done. Of course, a train is powered by a band of hungry monkeys running on a treadmill trying to reach the brewing pot of stew! These illustrations should prompt hours of bedtime ‘what if’s’ and ‘how come’.

The bonus is to take the jacket off to discover a new cover with even more mechanical secrets revealed. So that’s how a street light works!

Listen to Christoph interviewed on NPR Fresh Air and learn how his brain works.


Christophe Neimann | Greenwillow 2010

Subway is a book best appreciated by New Yorkers or those that have spent some time on New York City’s subway. Former New Yorker, (now residing in Berlin), Christophe Niemann writes and illustrates a graphic tale of a dad and his two boys as they make a day of riding the subways through Manhattan, Brooklyn, Harlem and points between. With his gift for wit and simplicity, Christophe illustrates the entire book with public symbol iconography, a sparing palette and loosely applied gouache. He has even drawn public symbol rats, dogs and cats! He has celebrated the web of underground trains, tracks, stations and its system of numbers and letters. The boys in the story—no doubt his—are in charge; read the signs, navigate the grid, and always know what’s happening next.

This book originated from Christophe’s New York Times blog, Abstract City. He has successfully taken an adult story and language and made it into a story about life in the city and the beauty beneath only through a kid’s eyes.

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