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The Fish and the Cat | Marianne Dubuc

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Marianne Dubuc is, to me, the modern timeless author/illustrator of our time. Her soft, reassuring style is the type you don't tire of book after book. Her aesthetic restraint gives her work the longevity of a Richard Scarry or Normal Bridwell, yet remains distinct as those do. Mr. Postmouse's Rounds was my introduction to the Canadian-based artist, and I have since added 5 of her other works to my shelves.

I love the open-endedness of her 2018 wordless picture book, The Fish and the Cat. In it we follow the journey of a curious cat whose meddling with a goldfish prompts it to leave its bowl and explore other landscapes beyond the limits of its containment as a house pet. There are different ways you can interpret the string of events, but no matter the emotional details of the story, the fish is a character who seems to know more than all of us. It leads the way and the cat, and we, are changed or left a little more enlightened from the journey.

The visual silence of this book, along with the imagery like the spread you see above, remind me of the expansive, drifting solitude one witnesses reading Le Petit Prince. It leaves one not in a sad state, but rather a private sense of discovery within.

I adore the texture and transparency in Dubuc's soft pencil strokes. The range of soft greys to dark, hard blacks stretches the use of a limited color palette to a richness not everyone can pull off. There is a wonderful interview with her here where you can hear her story and witness some of her technique:

Some other Dubuc favorites:


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