I’ve been enjoying Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu’s Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People. It’s a collection of short stories about miscreants and ne’er-do-wells, illustrated hilariously by Graham, who is probably most known for his laugh-out-loud funny Bigfoot books. It reminded me of how much I loved Roald Dahl’s The Twits as a kid, and all of the terrible things they did to each other.
I didn’t love every story (my favourite was Hans, the Weird Exchange Student) but whenever the narrative faltered, Graham’s illustrations amped up the funny. If you’ve read the Bigfoot books (or follow Bigfoot’s tweets) you know Graham is funny, but I am always envious of his ability to draw funny. His illustrations may appear dashed off, but their simplicity and energy only serves his funniness even further. He may very well be a spiritual successor to Quentin Blake, whose sketchy drawings decorated the pages of Roald Dahl’s books.
I also found it interesting that this book is not credited to Coupland as author and Roumieu as illustrator — but that they are both given equal credit. Certainly the illustrations add to the stories, and are as much a part of the reader’s experience as the words. We illustrators know that. But it’s nice to see the author/illustrator relationship treated as an equal collaboration on the book jacket itself.