We have just returned home from a week in London, exploring the city to dropping point! One place we visited was the National Gallery, where we followed the Chinese Zodiac Trail. We knew which animals to look for from retellings of the legendary selection process, such as The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac. While looking at the paintings, we learnt a great deal about the differences and similarities in the symbolism attached to the animals in Chinese and Western cultures; and Little Brother, who is passionate about dragons, was overjoyed to discover that his birth sign, the Snake, is also known as the Little Dragon!
In the gallery shop afterwards, we found a delightful picture-book called Pablo the Artist by Satoshi Kitamura, which is an enigmatic exploration of the artistic process and where inspiration comes from – I agree with The Magic of Books‘ review, where PJ Librarian says “you really aren’t sure at this point if Pablo is dreaming or if these landscape characters are actually real” – it’s one of those books which grows with each re-reading as new details are discovered and absorbed. We especially loved the glimpse of infinity provided at the end, having read The Mouse and His Child so recently, where the picture of the dog carrying a tray with a tin of dog food with the picture of the dog carrying a tray etc. etc. was such a recurrent and pivotal theme.