You Can’t Be Too Careful! by Roger Mello, translated by Daniel Hahn

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A complex chain of events and unexpected interrelationships is brought colourfully and quirkily to life in this first picture book by Brazilian illustrator Roger Mello to be translated into English.

A gardener encloses a white rose in a pen and guards her against escape. What might the consequences be if he takes his eye off her for a moment? A succession of strangely shaped characters populate the pages accompanying a narrative that sometimes seems circular but bends back and forth. Roger Mello’s illustrations challenge and excite the imagination. He won the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration in 2014 and it’s great to see some of his work available in English at last, translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn.

Elsewhere Editions is a new imprint devoted to the translation of picture books from around the world. They have published two other books so far besides this one and they are radically different from each other. My Valley (9780914671626) by highly regarded French illustrator Claude Ponti, translated by Alyson Waters, has a lovely large format and takes us into the lives and land of the Twims. In contrast, in a volume in a more intimate small format, Akin Düzakin uses browns that create a sepia effect and ghostly greys to illustrate Questions Asked by Jostein Gaarder, translated from Norwegian by Don Bartlett. Most famous for his philosophical novel Sophie’s World, here he proposes many thoughtful questions to which there are no certain answers.

We can look forward to a further picture book entitled Feather illustrated by Roger Mello and written by Chinese author Cao Wenxuan, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for writing in 2016, to be published in September.

Elsewhere Editions 9780914671640