Charming, Playful Type in Children’s Book “Princess and the Pea”
Too often children’s books have wonderful illustrations, but the type is left plain and undecorated. There might (might) be some type placed on a curved line. Wowee! Well, this is happily not the case in the children’s book “The Princess and the Pea” by Lauren Child (published in 2006). The author’s creativity encompassed the whole book, including the type faces for this highly imaginative story.
The beginning of each section begins with a large, ornamental drop cap (that large first letter that is often decorated in old books) in black ink over a scroll-work green background. Then important words are either all caps, a larger size and bolder font, or cursive italics (words like love, mesmerizing, fascinating, stars, etc.). Some pages begin with an old-looking hand-written calligraphy font. All of these are intermixed so well that different nuances of the words are emphasized. It really works to enhance the charm of this fairy tale. Here is a visual sample on Amazon.com. (Click the right arrow to see the “Once upon a time” page.)
The characters are hip-looking, hand drawn paper dolls in different poses. (The author/illustrator is also the creator of the Charlie and Lola books, which is also an animated series now.) The backgrounds are real staged rooms and sets, created from garden materials (log for a treehouse) and dollhouse furnishings. These were lit and photographed by Polly Borland.
Kudos to Lauren Child and the Hyperion Books for Children editor for including the typeface into the art and style of the book. It emphasizes the fairy-tale feel of the story, and greatly enhances the whole story-telling adventure.