By Yooju Cheon
Published by Frances Lincoln ISBN: 9781786037282
Reviewed by Louise Date
The latest book from Yooju Cheon is a beautiful exploration of friendship, beauty and simple pleasures, a pastel coloured set of tableaux between Cat and Dog. The story starts with Cat, who hopes to eat her lunch on a park bench and enjoy the spring blossom. Dog too, seeks out a nice bench on which to read his book, and a single petal helps a friendship to blossom between the two.
The language is gentle and winds through the images without detracting from the lightness and artistry of the work. Though the book is aimed at an audience of four years and above, the thrust of the story and ambiguous end of the narrative suggests a book best enjoyed as part of a discussion of the subjects of friendship, thoughtfulness and relationships.
The images are sweet and delicate, with beautiful compositions of pencil marks made with careful precision. The focus on the characters zooms in and out and brings a Wes Anderson-style pace and detail to the narrative and the personification of Cat and Dog make a charming concept to follow. The use of colour within the images is restrained, and helps add to the charm of the characterisation of Cat and Dog as well as their blossoming surroundings.
Yooju Cheon had previously presented several picture books and is a Harvard alumna. She states of the inspiration for her newest creation ‘once spring blossom comes, I don’t want to do anything but watch blossom all day long. More than anything I love watching soft flowers bloom from ancient trees’. This book certainly allows the reader to indulge in some quiet, contemplative moments, and maybe a spot of blossom-watching.