I love Gecko Press

This is a shameless endorsement. I am, however, not the BBC, so can express my love for Gecko without having to give Disney a right to reply. Gecko Press is a small New Zealand-based publisher of picture books from around the world -- in translation. If you're not intimately involved in publishing, you may not realize what a huge deal it is to publish picture books in translation. It happens very rarely, which means English speakers miss out on some truly amazing books.

I first discovered Gecko via Wolf Erlbruch's life-changing Duck Death and The Tulip, and  thanks to Philippa Johnson at Bounce! marketing, I continue to receive books from Gecko's new list.

Through Gecko, I've discovered Jutta Bauer and Ulf Stark (among many others), both shortlisted for the Astrid Lindgren prize this year. If you don't know them, make an effort. You won't regret it.

But the subject today is Blexbolex, a wondrous French illustrator who lives in Berlin. He has two books out with Gecko now, and I love them both to distraction.

If you're not sure his books are for you or your children, this review from Amazon (1*) should convince you:

"I was excited when I saw this book on the shelf in the children's area of our library. The illustrations looked great. I randomly flipped it open and the first page I saw featured "Executioner." The book also features "Corpse," "Orphan," and "Slave." While it promises that the readers will make connections between the people, I wonder what was implied when he juxtaposed "Amputee" with "Cyclops."This is not appropriate for children in any way."

Yes, Amputee/Cyclops. Quite a dangerous juxtaposition. I know legions of cyclopses who would take violent exception to comparison with amputees (it's not like they started out with two eyes, after all). As for Orphans and Slaves, well. The less said the better. Obviously.

Friends, fans, book lovers everywhere...you know what to do.