If anyone has helped shape the look of children’s books over the last couple of years it’s Karl James Mountfield. His covers and illustrations for books including M.G. Leonard’s Beetle Queen, Jennifer Bell’s the Uncommoners and Katherine Woodfine’s Sinclair Mysteries have all leapt off the bookshelves and into the bestseller’s lists.
Now Mountford has teamed up with Maudie Powell-Tuck for a Christmas picture book adventure that makes the most of his flair for pattern and design.
Last Stop on the Reindeer Express follows Mia as she finds her way through a magical post box portal, through lift the flap doors and die cut forests, cities and oceans.
The express delivers her all the way to her father who is holed up in the cold mountains for the winter with just maps and analogue equipment for company.
Although the story is slight, it has an emotional tug that will draw younger readers in. Mia is on a quest to get her card to her father before Christmas, and as they say their goodbyes the sky is filled with reindeer carrying children, all on their way to visit absent parents.
Mountford’s illustrations uses all the tools in the picture book arsenal; quirky Mary Blair-esque patterns, interactive features that recall Tove Jansson’s The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My and distinctive character designs that are all his own.
And before we go, get a load of these endpapers.
Last Stop on the Reindeer Express is published by Little Tiger