A little while ago, on Twitter, I saw that an English lecturer (@keatsandchapman) who had taught me at University had written that, perhaps unsurprisingly, his young child was more interested in having Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, read to him than Finnegan’s Wake, by James Joyce.
I thought this was very amusing and said as much, and the two of us got into a discussion about the possibility of Axel illustrating works by Joyce (which I think is a very fine idea indeed). Well, Dr. Creasy, a Joyce scholar, not only suggested the perfect text for Axel to start with (Mookse and the Gripes, which is, apparently, “just The Gruffalo and Wyndham Lewis”), but also – very obligingly – supplied an excellent rough draft for “the Scheffler Gruffamookse”, which you can see above. There’s more on the origins of the Gruffamookse on his blog here.
Anyone who spends much time on Twitter will know that you’re never more than two steps away from a hashtag game, and I immediately began to think – what other pairings of contemporary illustrators with classic texts would I like to see?
My own suggestions are for Joe Berger, illustrator of Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble, with The Great Gatsby (Joe’s very stylish, retro, art deco-ish work would be PERFECT) and Leigh Hodgkinson, author and illustrator of Goldilocks and Just the One Bear, for P.G. Wodehouse – I think Leigh would do an excellent Jeeves.