The Onion’s Great Escape
is as distinctive as any other Fanelli work. Her use of papers, collage, typography and all those eyes scream Sara Fanelli, thought that does not diminish the playfulness, or the skill at work here. Between the covers of this striking mustard yellow book, with its distinctive hand lettering, we follow a young onion as it begs us to free it, to help it escape its inevitable fate: the big fry. Along the way it poses questions sure to make readers, young and old, think. With a sing-song rhyming text the onion’s philosophical ponderings read almost like riddles, ’If you think of an elephant how big is your thought?’ But it is posing big questions about who we are and what makes up who we are: ‘Can you be happy without knowing it? Would you be different if you had a different name?’ The book explores the nature of dreams, fears, memories and time; Fanelli wants us to examine what defines us and in turn has provided plenty of space to answer questions, write and draw pictures. Her bold colour palette and use of old paper surfaces means that we are never faced with the prospect of writing on a pristine white page. This is a book that is interactive and encouragingly so. Her illustrations themselves interact playfully with the magnificent onion, transforming it from a tentacled sea creature to a beautiful butterfly.