Saturday, January 5, 2013

BiblioFile: A Maldição do Relógio

The works of John Bellairs branched into Portugal with A Maldição do Relógio released by Editorial Presence in 2006. From what we can tell, however, the introduction was short-lived as this is the only book that was published and nothing more ever followed.  That's too bad - if anything, it gives us a sense of how popular the book was for that country's readers.

Illustrator Danuta Wojciechowska created the cover artwork for this edition of The House with a Clock in its Walls. Readers are presented with an eerie-colored hillside under a fiery sky of yellows and orange – the perfect choice of colors for the daytime to slip into the perpetual night of an impending doomsday. Tombstones dot the right side of the cover, casting long shadows down the side of the hill. Opposite this is the looming house with its front door and upper-story window lit up, though what it sits atop is a bit of mystery. To us it appears a giant thermos or beverage can displaying the number 12. Swinging back and forth above it all is what one may think is a pendulum but midway through its motions it opens to reveal it is really a golden pocket watch...ticking away the minutes to midnight. Whatever language, the cover of this book always finds a way to include both the house and a clock face (or some variant of the theme).

Wojciechowska is originally from Canada and of European ancestry and later lived and worked in Switzerland, England, and, since the early 1980s, has called Lisbon home. She’s been nominated for a handful of awards and was the Portuguese candidate to the Hans Christian Andersen Prize of Illustration in 2004. In an interview at she said her work is very much based on color:
I think it is one aspect that characterizes my style. Another is a very dynamic composition. Though I use different techniques, my favorites are tempera and acrylic. I also like to insert work done in traditional techniques into vector shapes, like filling them in to get a more graphic effect. item we came across that would surely have had the fans at the CompleatBellairs fuming was that there’s a similar title - A Maldição do Relógio de Cuco – that belongs to something in the Goosebumps series. This time it’s a cuckoo clock. Sorry we brought it up.  Draw your own connections.

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