Jean Jullien, Ralf. Original idea and illustrations by Jean Jullien. Text collaboration by Gwendal Le Bec
Published by Frances Lincoln, 2016. First published 2014. 56p
Here it is another artist that communicates about life using illustrations. Jean Jullien is a French graphic designer living in London who believes humor, creativity and visual art are essential and therapeutic as well in our lives.
Enjoy an honest presentation on YouTube and become familiar with his playful but very pragmatic style:
After the November 2015 terrorist attack in Paris, Jean Jullien created the peace symbol including the Eiffel Tower, which shortly went viral worldwide, people showing solidarity against terrorism.
Ralf is Jean Jullien’s first picture book. It is a non-conventional story about a dog’s devotion and his need for a confirmed sense of belonging. Beginning in an ordinary manner, the story continues unrealistic yet extremely symbolic.
Ralf is a sausage dog, a little dog who takes up a lot of space, a dog that can stretch anywhere. The dog owners will easily picture familiar situations and probably have a loud laugh seeing Ralf sneaking at the shower or snuggling up in bed. His family loves him,
It’s just that his long body gets in the way all the time.
So he is sent out to sleep in his kennel. But the house catches fire. Ralf’s body begins to stretch like rubber, in a bizzare yet reasonable manner as the little dog needs to save his sleeping family. He calls the firefighters who race through the night and the family is saved sliding down on Ralf’s extremely long back. His body stays long but the family is happy to just build a bigger house.
I loved the surrealistic approach of the story which made my daughter laugh and we both were thrilled by Ralph’s big heart; his body seems directly proportional to it.