So what do you get for a boy who loves to cook and read but hates to draw or paint?
Hervé Tullet's 'Doodle Cook' that's what.
Hervé Tullet did them in collaboration with local school children. They were sooo priddy.
I wish I'd discovered his GENIUS drawing books for my boys earlier in their non-drawing careers. Bill is now out of his non-drawing and painting phase and Really Quite Into It but he was held back for years through I think, impatience at his own lack of ability and a streak of perfectionism. For years he would only draw monsters not people; after all it didn't matter if monsters went a bit wrong looking.
Eddie will not even draw shonky monsters without inappropriately severe maternal pressure. His non-drawing stance is almost a religious vow. In a week where all the little girls in his class are coming in daily with elaborate thank you cards adorned with smiling princesses, unicorns, flowers and the like, I have had to bribe him with substantial quantities of chocolate to get him to even put a line on a piece of paper.
And yet...and yet...he DOES love to cook, so I fair leaped upon 'Doodle Cook' when I saw it. Would the temptation to make Zigzag Soup or Crayon Tartare provide a breakthrough?
Oh it's a faberoonie book. Each page offers instructions to make a different dish faced by a generous sized empty plate. Follow the step by step recipe and you too can produce your own perfect Hervé abstract. It's fairly specific in its demands which some may disapprove of, but for my frozen-in-the-spotlight-of-a bare-piece-of-paper child specific is GOOD. Eddie loves a list of instructions; that's his home turf. (his laminated 'shoe reminder card': 1. undo straps, 2. pull out tongue to make space, 3. put in foot and push heel down 4. do up straps and repeat with other foot revolutionised our school run earlier in the year).
It would be too much to say that he's learned to embrace the pen and crayon as yet but together we've 'cooked' a couple of pages in a relaxed and happy way which is a massive step forward. I, and more importantly he, begin to see a future that might involve artwork that isn't exclusively orange crayon on orange paper.
And I'm sure his teachers will love a slice of 'triangle cake' to eat whilst they admire the stack of perfect princesses...
'Doodle Cook' Hervé Tullet, pub. Phaidon isbn 978-0-7148-6070-1