Play outside! (“Jouer dehors”), by Laurent Moreau
A kite can take you to the edge of the world… Just follow it with your eyes, like the two children in Play outside! the new picture book (for children 4 and up) by the author-illustrator Laurent Moreau.
At the Strasbourg School
Laurent Moreau was born in 1982. Although he grew up right by his grandparents’ farm in Brittany, an environment conducive to observing nature and animals, the author of Play Outside! now lives in Strasbourg. Like many illustrators, it was while studying at the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg that he fell in love with the great European city of illustration, which earned that reputation thanks to the notable influence of Tomi Ungerer (1931-2019).
Laurent Moreau has written and illustrated many picture books – including The Beautiful Moments (“Les Beaux Instants”) (2010), What are you thinking about? (“À quoi penses-tu ?”) (2012) – many of which have been published by Hélium, an independent publishing house founded in 2008 by Sophie Giraud. He is also known for his illustrations of the Jacques Prévert poems by published by Gallimard Jeunesse, Tales for Naughty Children (“Contes pour enfants pas sages”) (2016).
The Story of a Kite
Two children are chatting in a house when their mother orders them to "play outside!": a command which becomes the title of this new picture book, in which Laurent Moreau tells the story of a long journey. Following their kite, the two children begin a tour of the world, traversing page after page of lush natural panoramas. Plants and wild animals burst with bright colours.
Play Outside! celebrates travel and contemplation, whether in the jungle or on an iceberg.
Research and colours
For Play Outside!, Laurent Moreau exhaustively gathered information on more than 250 animals. Through his research he sought to understand not only their shape and colours, but also their ways of life and the conditions of their natural habitat.
It was only after his research was complete that Laurent Moreau chose to shape his story in gouache, his preferred medium, which he applied in successive layers, giving prominence to his favourite element: primary colours.
An environmental tale
Raising children’s awareness of nature, its fragility and its protection was not originally part the author’s intention. However, discussions with his editor convinced the author-illustrator to add an index of the animals appearing in the story at the end of the book, here ranked according to the level of extinction threat they are currently experiencing.
Play Outside! is a contemporary children’s picture book which is tuned in to current events.
Play outside! by Laurent Moreau is part of the selection of the 2019 Pépites internationales (International Gems) awards by the French Institute and the Montreuil Children's Book Fair. This programme promotes French-language children’s literature among French learners around the world. Find out more about the 2019 Pépites Internationales (International Gems) programme
Laurent Moreau will discuss his work with Moroccan and Cypriot students on 23 October 2019 during a video conference dedicated to his album. He will also draw live.