Illustration Friday – Craving
It’s a spread from the picture book １２の月たち (12 no Tsuki-tachi, or “The Twelve months” in English), first published back in 1991 in Japan. It’s a classic fairytale from Slovakia, following the tale of gentle Marushka who is sent out into the freezing winter forest to bring back impossible things for her cruel stepmother and bullying step sister. First they crave violets, then strawberries, and finally apples. Each time the frozen girl is helped by one of 12 brothers in the woods, each representing one of the 12 months, who change the seasons to give her the items. Needless to say, it all ends badly for the evil step-mother and sister when they go seeking the fruits themselves.
The book, released by Miki House in Japan, has been through several reprints already, and a new edition is to be released later this year. Drawn in a very traditional style, this is one of my biggest selling titles in Japan. Sadly, no release in the West though.