There are very few picture books that will keep my three-year-old daughter equally as interested as my eight-year-old son – their age groups and interests are on-the-whole vastly different. So when I discovered all four of my kids poring over Follow the Line, I knew it must be a special book.
Written and illustrated by Laura Ljungkvist, Follow the Line is a journey from the city to the countryside, from the sky to the ocean, from morning till night. It is loosely classified as a counting book but it is so much more than that. The illustrations are created from a single, continuous line so that children can trace their way through a city, a party, a traffic jam, under the sea, a forest, a village and more. The line twists, turns and curls from being a smile on a face to a crane to a seahorse to a hot air balloon. Along the way there are lots of counting questions which encourage children to look closely at the detail in the pictures, for example “How many people have freckles?” and “How many cars have their headlights on?”
Ljungkvist was born in Sweden and her Scandinavian style is evident on every page. At first glance, the illustrations appear simple, largely because of the bold black line that dominates but look closer for superb detail such as fish caught in a fine net, tiny fire hydrants dotted between skyscrapers and pine cones littering the forest floor. However it is Ljungkvist’s use of colour that really shows off her Swedish heritage – bright, clashing colours restricted to only three or four per page creates incredible contrast between each new scene.
There are three books in the Follow the Line series – Follow the Line, Follow the Line through the House and Follow the Line around the World. All are fantastic although I particularly love the House edition for its very cool retro kitchen, closet and treasure chest. Follow the Line books are available through Fishpond.