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A Subtle, Sophisticated, Thoroughly Entertaining Art Book for Children of All Ages
on May 4, 2007
THE SERIF FAIRY is a delight from every aspect. Though conceived as a children's book, it is also a teaching tool of the sort that makes learning fun while challenging both the adult reader and the child. Writer and graphic designer Rene Siegfried composed this fable in German (it is sensitively translated for us into English by Joel Mann) as a studio work for a course in communication design, the challenge being to create a readable and interesting story while introducing the child in each of us to concepts of the somewhat obtuse subject - typography!
The Serif Fairy, 'a clever little letter-fairy', has lost her left 'magical' wing, disabling her ability to fly and to perform magic. She sets off in search of the lost wing, wandering through the Garamond Forest, the Zentenar Gate, the Futura City, and finally to Shelley Lake where, after falling into the water, she finds her lost wing and flies into the air, a revived magic fairy. Each of the images, from the construction of the fairy herself to the trees, buildings, bugs and animals she encounters are built from letters from the various typefaces (fonts) that we all know from the computer cascade of choices. Siegfried encourages the reader to find the various composed creatures and identify how they are created from letters by adding at the end of the brief book a concise but excellent description and illustration of each of the four typefaces used. Then on the inside back cover spread the designer shares each of the designed objects from car to crab with a simple lineup of the letters used in each composition.
The design of the book is clean, elegant, and very intelligently presented. Some will ask whether the book will appeal to any child (or adult) not involved in the graphic design business. For this reader the answer is a resounding 'YES!'. Siegfried has managed to create an interesting tale while opening fresh lines of investigation for visual problem solving of the 'type' that fascinate children with inquisitive minds: problem solving in finding the inventive critters that fill the pages is enhanced by the reward of learning more about the new discoveries at book's end. This is a book that restores faith in the intelligence of readers - of any age. Another Mark Batty Publisher winner! Grady Harp, May 07