Perfect for blustery fall days, let me share with you a favorite new picture book. The Umbrella is by Dutch husband-and-wife team Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. You may remember seeing their art in our galleries during our Dutch Treats exhibition in 2006. Their newest book (which actually released last year in Europe and recently published by Lemniscaat in the US) may very well be their best work to date.
This wordless masterpiece begins before even the title page. The endpapers show a small dog discovering a red umbrella on a windy autumn day. The gusts of wind blow the reader to the right, toward turning the page, and straight across the title page. We see the dog being lifted by this wind-swept umbrella above the houses and trees and through a gorgeous worldwide watercolor adventure. We follow this dog as he is blown through various landscapes, from the Savannah to the ocean, from the jungle to the Arctic. Along the way this little red umbrella is many things to the dog; a parachute, a shield, a boat, a swing and even a sled. Each double-page spread bleeds off the pages, absorbing the reader into each landscape, imagining the untold story the lives with each scene. The Schuberts keep the momentum of the wind and the dog’s journey constantly heading right, urging the reader toward each page turn, until the exhausted dog arrives home and leaves the umbrella, Jumanji-style, to be discovered by the next eager adventurer.
This is a book created by a team who truly understands the art of the picture book, utilizing all the parts of the book right down to its endpapers, to tell this remarkable wordless adventure. For lovers of Barbara Lehman’s books or Regis Faller’s The Adventures of Polo series especially, this book is a going to be a winner.
Pick up your copy of The Umbrella here.