The Day No One Was Angry is a picture book with all the necessary ingredients needed to make it a future children’s book classic. Containing twelve short stories each dealing with the theme of anger, this hardbacked delight will guarantee you that warm, fuzzy feeling from beginning to end.
Written by Toon Tellegen, every story is a short, bitter-sweet tale of anger, seen through the eyes of the various inhabitants of the forest. From the Hyrax who’s furious at the sun for always leaving, to the Lobster whose briefcase is packed full of anger in an assortment of colours, these surreal, off-beat stories both delight and puzzle in equal measure. With each story only a few pages long they conclude as quickly as they begin, which though abrupt merely adds to their charm. It is hard to put into the words the complete sense of familiarity you get with this book, but at the end you are left feeling as though somewhere in the back of your mind you have heard the stories before, which evokes such a strong feeling of childhood nostalgia. This book possesses that inexplicable magic quality that will no doubt ensure it withstands the test of time.
If anything can compete with the wonderful writing it’s the artwork that accompanies it. The illustrations are salivatingly beautiful, where vintage chic has been displayed to its full glory. The sheer amount of content has to be applauded, as loudly as possible, for each and every page is packed full of detail-rich, grain-textured imagery in a palette that is somehow both vibrant and muted. From vignettes to full page spreads, every page offers something new, and Marc Boutavant’s skill is such that you cannot fail to fall head over heels for these illustrations. This is one book where nothing has been scrimped on; the production value is exquisite, and we only wish that all books were made to such exacting standards. Once seen this book is not forgotten, and the urge to constantly return to it is overwhelming.
The partnering between Tellegen and Boutavant is so completely in-sync that we are desperate to view more of this duo’s creations. Let us hope that a sequel is on the cards for something this good deserves to be given a second go. As picture books go, The Day No One Was Angry is so completely stunning as to put it up there with the other picture book greats. With such a perfect book in our hands it’s hard to imagine any book lover’s shelf looking quite right without a copy of this placed upon it.