With its tongue-in-cheek humour and eye-catching illustrative style, writer Giuseppe Sofo and artist Eleonora Marton’s Handbook for the (Mis)Education of Grown-Ups (published by Raum Italic) sets its stall out early on with its observation that books are full of words and colours so there’s nothing wrong with writing and drawing on them (preferably with chocolate-stained fingers!). The premise of this witty picture book is to imagine a world where children educated adults rather than the other way around, which it does to great effect in its 30-plus pages of junior life hacks and tips for a less structured existence.
It’s a collection of silly wisdom, then, that asks the reader to embrace their inner child reminding them of such undeniable truths as the best canvas for the aspiring artist is a wall and that breaking things is always someone else’s fault. This is an offering that provides wonderful examples of child’s eye logic on subjects like the healthy properties of chocolate and playing prohibited games. There’s even a number of blank notebook pages at the end for enthusiastic adults to join in the fun!
Marton’s vibrant art, fizzing with colour and ever inventive page design is an instant draw; the deliberately distorted and childlike visuals perfectly capturing the themes of the book and the hugely expressive lettering underlining the its endearingly gleeful and anarchic zeal.
Naughty and mischievous, and at points defiantly rebellious in its own knowing way, the message at the heart of Handbook for the (Mis)Education of Grown-Ups is to push the reader to never be afraid to be themselves. That it conveys that thought in such a fun and humorous way is an added bonus.
Review by Andy Oliver