Recipient of the 2017 Montreuil Children's Book Salon Pépite D'Or Literary Award, Silver Medalist in the 2018 Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibition, A USBBY Outstanding International Book of 2019, and named one of The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children's Books of 2018 by 100 Scope Notes
In this wordless story from artist Blexbolex, a young girl's idyllic vacation is interrupted by the appearance of an unexpected houseguest, and she learns how hard it can be to invite another in on the fun.
On vacation at her grandfather's home in the countryside, a young girl has thoroughly been enjoying her summer. All this time, she has had the garden, the kitchen, forest paths, the lake, and even Grandpa all to herself. So when her grandfather brings an elephant home to stay, she is not pleased at all. How will she react to this intrusion into what she believes to be her own personal space and time?
Nostalgic and often dreamlike, this wordless story is about interrupted solitude, learning to be together with another, and how the choices we make deeply affect our lives. With beautifully textured pages inside a hardcover with cloth spine, this is silent visual storytelling at its best!
Recipient of the Salon du Montreuil 2017 Le Pépite D'or Literary Award
Silver Medalist in the 2018 Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibition
A USBBY Outstanding International Book of 2019
Named one of The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children's Books of 2018 by 100 Scope Notes
"Blexbolex has cracked the code."—Matt Seneca, The Comics Journal
★ "The enigmatic visual storytelling of French artist Blexbolex’s Ballad (2013) is more prominent than ever in this reality-bending wordless outing, which can be read as an extended picture book or as a graphic novel. ... Puzzle-loving readers will adore teasing out the book’s mysteries, and many more will simply want to lose themselves in its enchanting images."—STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly
★ "Storm clouds darken—both literally and figuratively—on a young girl's solitary summer idyll when her grandpa welcomes a new houseguest. Blexbolex teases with the new guest's identity in this wordless outing, as it may look like a small gray elephant in most of the pictures, but it behaves like another child…and appears as a boy in a pair of dream sequences. The girl greets the new arrival's friendly overtures with a cold shoulder and mean pranks initially, but she repents after alienating him so that he doesn't come home one evening and then forcing her grandpa to go out into a blustery night to fetch him back inside. By then he's fed up, though, so the standoff continues…until the night everyone in the community dons animal masks and gathers beneath the stars for a country fair. But just when it seems like the quarrel might be resolved, the girl wakes up next morning and he's gone. She catches a final glimpse of the lad—and, astonishingly, the elephant—waving from the departing train. This poignant tale of lost opportunity is presented through a series of small action and reaction shots set within larger views of a tidy country house in serene woodsy surrounds, all printed in serigraphic style on rough surfaced cloth. Emotional tapestries are easy to plot, both through the interplay of rich colors and deep shadows and the characters' strong, graceful postures and gestures. The primary (human) cast is pale-skinned. Magical work, as immersive as the author's Ballad (2013) or his larger-format picture albums."—STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
"Leave it to the creator of Ballad to craft one of the most unique graphic novels I’ve ever laid eyes on. Vacation is a dreamlike story about a girl and her grandfather and their unexpected elephantine summer guest. Blexbolex gets inventive on just about every page – playing with the concept of panels and finding inventive ways to present the passage of time."—Travis Jonker, 100 Scope Notes
"...lush colors and screen-print patterns radiate from the roughly textured pages of the physical book, creating an open-ended, dreamlike reading experience that is as tactile as it is visual."—Elisa Gall, The Horn Book
"The recipient of the Pépite d'or literary award is "a work of real ambition, a book that steps out of the ordinary, an excellent example of ambitious children's literature."—Michel Abescat, Télérama
"With [Vacation], you feel the strength of this author's work. It's a long-term endeavor whose publication has been particularly meticulous. It's a book for everyone, with remarkable energy and spirit.”—Sylvie Vassallo, Director of Le Salon de Montreuil
"[Vacation] is an extremely interesting offer. It is a book that you read and reread to sort out the complexity of the narrative and pick up on the winks. It's a stunning and unusual book. It should be started with an adult, but then you have to let the child venture on alone. It's an extraordinary reading adventure.”—Frédéric Potet, Le Monde
“The artist's never-ending will to experiment and recreate images marvelously reproduces the nostalgia for happy childhood summers. Bravo!”—Livres Hebdo
“Through imagery, Blexbolex meets the challenge of the narrative to evoke childhood with its cruelty, frustrations, rapture, and jealousies. Beautiful and clever."—L'Express
“[…] it's about opening up to others, to those you might not expect, who aren't like us, but who can surprise us and amaze us.”—20 Minutes
“It is this fragile moment of awakening to one's own cruelty that is magnificently captured in Blexbolex's book. The way the eye moves across the page owes nothing to chance in this magnetic, even hypnotic, book."—Le Monde
"Blexbolex stretches the boundaries of typical graphic novels in this deeply expressive wordless title. Relying on screen-printing techniques, he gives images a textured appearance, masterfully evoking Roy Lichtenstein’s pixelated pop art and Little Golden Books’ subdued retro charm. [...] This stunning yet unique offering may have trouble finding an audience, but more sophisticated fans of graphic novels and wordless books may appreciate it. Under the guidance of a thoughtful adult, the work might also spur discussion about its deeper meanings"—Alea Perez, Westmont Public Library, IL, School Library Journal
“Blexbolex is a talented author, and [Vacation] is one of his best books. Seizing on the image of a young girl in a skirt, he takes with this classic motif and succeeds in making a completely modern heroine who is a young girl of our times. There is great density in the narration!”—Christophe Honoré (film director, script writer, producer)
- Salon du Montreuil Le Pépite D'or Literary Award
- USBBY Outstanding International Book