The Rise of the Illustrated Novel
Just some thoughts for you this remarkably cold-for-April Monday morn. I've been thinking about illustrated novels. While stumbling about the Central Children's Room the other day, I found a book by Tobi Tobias entitled Jane, Wishing, which was illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman and published by Viking. It's from 1977 and is a funny little book. Like a graphic novel without panels, the dialogue floats free and easy above the characters speaking. As the girl, Jane, wishes for things like luxurious red hair flying free, a life without siblings, and the ability to charm everyone who knows her, the book bounces back and forth between her colorful imagination and the cold black and white of reality. If an illustrated novella picture book exists, this is it.
Then I thought about the great illustrated novels of 2007. Hugo Cabret. The Arrival. Smekday. And then that got me thinking about YA. When are we going to start seeing the illustrated YA novel? It's just a matter of time, no? So far publishers haven't taken the plunge, but eventually someone's going to. And when that happens it will either be awesome or a complete and utter letdown. I'm hoping for the former, but can anyone conjure up a teen illustrated novel written in the last ten years off the top of their heads? Not a graphic novel, mind you. An illustrated novel, like Hugo Cabret (thought certainly not that long). Anyone? The time, methinks, is ripe.