Book Review: "Click," Said the Camera by Markus Jakob with photographs by Balthasar Burkhard.
By Scarlett Davis
First published in 1997, this adored children’s book “Click,” Said the Camera written by Markus Jakob with photography provide by Balthasar Burkhard has resurged in a smaller format in conjunction with Burkhard’s 2017–18 surveys at Museum Folkwang and Fotostiftung Schweiz. In this delightful tale, twenty animals gather in all of their innate grandeur to have their photos taken in front of the wild and exotic three-legged creature, the “tripod.” Narrated by no animal more fitting or loveable than the reticent, hawk-eyed Donkey whose sparkling wit and candor dances off the pages.
Sometimes, life’s pearls of wisdom are best begot from the mouths of babes. Click is a welcomed reminder of the beauty and truth found in an innocent worldview, unadulterated by the fear one so often experiences after becoming a person of the world. Jakobs’s writing is as astute as it is poetic, and wonderfully playful. He manages to personify the animals by attributing to them a kind of magic, which only a child would recognize a Water Bull fashioning a nose ring, a Llama glorious in her tutu, and the droll Camel whose belly is full of reserved water and cannot help to make funny “slushing” noises.
He says of the Reindeer, “That afternoon a tree walked in. A tree going for a walk?! The artist rubbed his eyes,” noting the animal’s comical antlers. Donkey is apprehensive of her own beauty and self-worth compared with the magnitude of the other animals in all of their strengths and hidden talents. When it comes time for Donkey to have her own photo taken, she stands proud in her own essence, and relishes in the swooping of cheers from her fellow animals.
The poem “Tyger”( 1794) by poet William Blake ascribes the dangerous beauty found within a wild tiger saying, “What immortal hand or eye/ Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” Nature is an untamed, unyielding, and an unpredictable beast. However, vast or different from one another, all creatures are created with a kind of love, with an attention to balance and detail. We all aspire to be loved, the sheep in the pasture eating a blade of grass and the wolf that would sooner eat the sheep than the grass. Functioning much like Aesop’s Fables, animals continue to provide children with the necessary tools and teachings , which they will need in-order to become compassionate and caring adults.
The book will be available for purchase on 2/27/2018 with publisher LARS MÜLLER PUBLISHERS