Anthony Browne:
Playing the Shape Game

The shape game is a game where one person draws a shape and the others transform it into a picture. In this autobiography (written by his son) Browne takes us on a journey through his life and work showing how this childhood game is the film rouge throughout them.
'Playing the Shape Game' is a beautiful, thick volume (240 pages) packed with images and  curiosities about the background and creation process of his picture books, guaranteed to satisfy the curiosity of any avid fan.
We find out about his father love for drawing: "He spent hours drawing with my brother and me. He may not have known it, but he was teaching us to view drawing not only as a childish occupation but as a lifelong pursuit", and about Browne's attraction for battle scenes as a young child, and for the theme of transformation as a grown-up artist.
There's so much in this book and it's quite impossible to summarise 42 years of life and inspiration.
Anthony Browne's books are all (including toddler books) incredibly unique and thought-provoking. I have always felt that most of them are not even meant for children but for an older audience, not because they are too complicated, but because of their disturbing surreal atmosphere. 
Not that being soft and eager to please are among the author's intentions.

"My books are unusual - often more rewarding after a little perseverance -  and tend not to offer immediate, effortless gratification. Thankfully it is an understanding and knowledgeable group of people I work with, and I am grateful that they allowed me to carry on producing my own kind of picture books".

We thank them too, don't we?
Playing the Shape Game [2011]
by Anthony Browne and Joe Browne
Published by Doubleday, an imprint of Random House Children's Books
Reading age: 12+

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