Japanese graphic designer Katusmi Komagata began creating books for babies and children when he became a father himself. Like Bruno Munari, whose iconic childrens' titles no doubt serve as an inspiration, Komagata's books are actually designed objects, with die-cuts, different types and colors of paper, as well as pictures and words. They look incredible.
On her sweet, new book design blog, Book By It's Covers, artist Julia Rothman gets all excited about Green To Green, Yellow To Red, and Blue To Blue, which tell the adventures of animals exploring multi-colored, multi-layered, die-cut worlds. Those are best for kids to read with adults.
But Komagata's also made a whole series of incredible baby books. Little Eyes are die-cut cards that open up, fold around, and turn over, little sets of beautiful baby brochures more than just books. They range from simple black and white patterns and designs for a newborn, to booklets with graduated pages [like the Hungry Caterpillar's diet] which tell little stories.
When the French city of Grenoble wanted to bring more babies and toddlers into the municipal libraries, they launched "Un livre, un bébé", a campaign which provided a specially commissioned Komagata book to all the kids born in the city in 2004. [There are still some left.]
The kicker, though, has to be Ca y est je vais naître/I'm Gonna Be Born, which uses translucent pages to tell the story of birth from the baby's point of view. That's right, it's My First Birth Canal.
If there's a quarrel with Komagata's books, it's that, unless you're giving birth in the Alps, they're not widely distributed. haven't found a US source yet, but Form and Colours is a specialist distributor for Komagata's books in the UK and Europe, where each Little Eyes book is £18.40. [Oh, also, they're expensive. At $375 for all ten, these may be the kids books you never let the kid touch.] Trois Ourses is his French publisher, if buying in Euros feels cheaper. Buying in yen definitely feels cheaper, because it is: Komagata's Japan-only website has books for half the price. No wholesale, I guess.
Green to Green review, just one of many stunning children's book finds [book-by-its-cover.com via mark from sparkability]
Katsumi Komagata on Form and Colour [formandcolour.com]
Katsumi Komagata's studio, One Stroke [one-stroke.co.jp, in japanese]