Veronica on Petunia’s Farm by Roger Duvoisin. Alfred A, Knopf 2008. Originally published by Alfred A Knopf 1962
Veronica on Petunia’s Farm was originally created in 1962 by Roger Duvoisin, a Swiss born American writer and illustrator. He wrote an illustrated many books over his long career, mainly about the adventures of animals. His technique moved from bold colourful design to collage and paint throughout his career but whatever technique he used he always created outstanding illustrations.
The story follows Veronica and her arrival at a new farm. She’s very excited about making new friends but the other farm animals are less keen. There’s no getting away from the fact the farm animals are pretty mean, referring to Veronica as ‘IT’ and talking badly about her. Over the course of the story the animals see the error in their ways and go out of their way make sure Veronica is comfortable and happy in her new surroundings.
The illustrations are just timeless. The animals are bursting with character. You can see the emotion on each one with just a few simple squiggles. Theres a scratchy, effect to the paint work which just give the animals a nice texture and the use of background a space and layout is executed in a very creative way. The alternating pages of black and white to colour are certainly of its time but the use luscious neon pink throughout the book makes it very on trend right now.
The story may be a little upsetting for some and probably would have been toned down if it first landed on a publishers desk today but thats why its great. I like the books honesty. It doesn’t sugar coat what it’s like to be picked on and how it can affect a person…..or hippo.
Its a fantastic book, with gorgeous illustrations and a strong heartfelt message about acceptance and friendship.