Written and illustrated by Blexbolex
Translated from French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2013

Ballad is a story, and like all great stories it deepens with each retelling. Ballad builds over seven sequences. The first has three images: school, path, home. The next builds upon the first, giving us: school, street, path, forest, home. The next five sequences take up this story, but with new words and images that nearly double the previous sequence. Here a child encounters the world as he returns home from school, and we see his small world become enormous. This story is as old as the world. It happens every day.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-137-7
5.63" (W) x 6.5" (H) • 280 pages • HC

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A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2013
Brain Pickings' Top 13 Children's, Illustrated, and Picture Books of 2013

★ "As a story, it's challenging, mysterious, and even obscure. As an object and a piece of bookmaking, it's a work of art." —STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

"This book is unlike anything I've ever seen before...It's a puzzle, a fairy tale, an adventure, a love story, made with words and pictures used in a new, utterly beguiling way. The silk-screened images, made with unbelievable fluorescent ink, will draw you in and will leave you breathless till the end." —Brian Selznick, Author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret

"The best, most enchanting stories live somewhere between the creative nourishment of our daydreams and the dark allure of our nightmares. That's exactly where beloved French graphic artist Blexbolex transports us in Ballad (public library), his exquisite and enthralling follow-up to People, one of the best illustrated books of 2011, and Seasons." —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

“When language is altered or disintegrates, how do we tell stories? In this spellbinding fairy tale, French artist Blexbolex imagines a fantasy town—each page presents a gothic snapshot of a single plot point, each with infinite interpretations. The town is turned (literally) upside down as a witch casts cruel spells, bandits kidnap a queen, demons dance in the night, and a stranger embarks on a perilously heroic quest. The true genius is in the details, as omens foreshadow victories and nuanced words dredge up evocative emotions—and certain objects play an integral part in the convergence of the plot. While the word choices are pivotal, it is the skill presented in the silkscreen printings that enliven this thrilling, magical adventure. Recommended for both detailed-oriented children and adults.” —Foreword Reviews

"Pictured in a long spate of silkscreen tableaux bound up in a small, bricklike volume, a bored child's daydream zigzags its way into an increasingly wild fantasy adventure . . . The delicious temptation to take an active role in the surreal adventure by adding details or even whole subplots will be hard to resist." —Kirkus Reviews

"An intriguing book—one to unravel, decode, and ponder in successive re-readings." —The Horn Book

"A ballad that will make the heart soar and make you believe in everything nice. It is also never the same story twice. You will know what I mean when you actually start reading it. There are hidden scenes and it is definitely not a normal reading experience. I think it will appeal to all parents and children and you must go for it." —The Hungry Reader


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