This year’s prize winner has created an explosively visual picture book about how wild and uncontrollable nature affects humans.
They skilfully weave image and text into a playfully humorous story about a motley crowd of tourists that encounters a volcanic eruption. The story bursts with power, both capturing and propelling our fascination with extreme natural phenomena. Yet it also touches on conflicting emotions that arise as the land collapses, lava flows, and new mountains emerge, as well as the emotions connected to more mundane matters such as a lice epidemic or seeing your surroundings being flooded with tourists. There is tension throughout between the tiny and the gigantic, which gives the story a unique intensity.
The illustrations brim with subtle details that will capture the attention of young readers. The colour scheme purposefully and expressively integrates the theme. Japanese ink is used for the pitch-black volcanic ash, which is accompanied by intensely glowing red lava, the colour of which is reflected in a colourful hallway runner. Alongside this colourful spectacle, the pale, colourless people stand out as a reminder that, like tourists, we’re all just here for a visit. Does nature exist only to entertain us, or should we ourselves take greater responsibility for how we interact with it?
Eldgos gives hope that we can find a way to live in harmony with nature.