mark boutavant : around the world with mouk

mouk-cover This book, Around the World with Mouk is one of my favorite souvenirs from Melbourne. I found it while browsing at a wonderful bookstore, Metropolis, on Swanston Street's Curtain House.

I collect children's books and especially love a story that's illustrated with such detail that you can look at each page for a long while, discovering funny little characters and scenes across a detailed spread. This is definitely the case with author and illustrator Mark Boutavant's very cute and very funny hardcover.


Mouk leaves his friends and heads off on a tour of the world and each page shows his adventures in a different city: Tokyo; Kangaroo Island, Australia; Sambava, Madagascar;  Hydra, Greece; Lake Titicaca, Peru; New York and others. There is a letter to his friends on each page. I love how every single major cultural characteristic and key differentiating objects and food items from each country is mentioned on every spread.

For example, the image below shows Mouk's visit to Japan. On the mat under the tree, you can see a fight between a sumo wrestler and a karate guy. The deer standing on the far right of the veranda is saying "He's got the wrong socks," because she's wearing the Japanese style socks with a slit between the two toes. The frog is folding origami. A dog says "He's lost his tatami mat!" The characters picnicking (it's hanami, no less) mention are offering each other sushi and miso soup.


If you're in Melbourne, visit Metropolis to purchase a copy (trust me, you want to own this and you really want to shop at this store). If not, you can buy it from big mama Amazon.

(*images via Make Do and Mend and  Tate Online Shop)