Cao Wenxuan's FEATHER

Sometimes I just want to show you a groovy book I've received, like today. I recently received a review copy of FEATHER written by the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award Winner Cao Wenxuan, illustrated by the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award Winner Roger Mello, translated from Chinese by Chloe Garcia Roberts, for Elsewhere Editions, "a nonprofit children's press devoted to visionary picture books from around the world."
With a line-up like that, I can understand the money that obviously went into the physical design of this book. The protagonist of the story, a feather trying to find out which bird it belongs to, is divided between the pages and a cardboard flap built into the book.
The pages are of variable lengths depending on if they are meant to interact with the feather flap, or not (as towards the end). These are all very high-end design decisions.
The artwork is minimal, large shapes and simple lines. This spread is especially interesting—the birds are shown on vases rather than in a real-world setting as the text implies.
Both the author and illustrator did a write-up about what the story means to them, printed in the front of the book. As Cao says,
"...underlying this simple story of Feather pondering her questions are actually the core questions of human thought: Where do I come from? Where do I want to go? Who do I belong to? In fact, Feather's journey of riding the wind, her journey of questioning, is really the human journey of searching for a sense of belonging."
I don't think a book like this would sell to a US picture book publisher as it's more of an art book than a book for children, in my opinion. But it is interesting. Certainly, I find that international books tend to push the boundaries of what a picture book can be, as this one does.

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