Writer/Artist: James Chapman
Release Date: 14th November, 2015
Hot on the heels of a monumentally successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over £17,500 with just a £1,500 target, James Chapman’s genius creation Soundimals is back with a brand new book that looks at some of the different noises human beings make around the globe. How To Sneeze in Japanese is essentially more of the same from Chapman (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?), as he breaks down the different sounds people make in different languages.
Not sure what I mean? Well, it’s like this…
It probably goes without saying, but there’s no narrative to be found here. No story, no characters, no shocking third-act plot twist. This is exactly what it claims to be – a book of illustrated onomatopoeia from around the world – and it’s absolutely glorious.
There’s something about the innocence and simplicity of Chapman’s illustrations that give the book an incredible amount of charm. Bright, bold colours and permanently smiling figures give the book a vibrant, all-ages appeal, although for my taste, Chapman’s animals are a little more impressive than his people, if only due to the inherent cuteness of seeing different types of pigs oinking in a variety of languages.
Chapman has carved out a truly unique niche here; a genuinely universal book that has something to offer children of all ages (even ones in their thirties, as I can enthusiastically confirm). From parents reading it to their children as a creative departure from “the cow says moo”-type picture books, to teenagers giggling at the different words for “fart”, to grown-ups like myself who are utterly charmed by the sheer brilliance of this idea, it’s safe to say that How To Sneeze In Japanese would make a worthy addition to any bookshelf.
I’m loathe to bring up the C-word, but I’m going to anyway… with Christmas looming on the horizon, this is a book that a lot of people would love to find in their stocking. Last year, my wife and nephew each got a copy of James’ previous offering, and it’s a distinct possibility some of my family may be finding out what a burp sounds like in German this December 25th.
Oh, and as a side-note, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of the stretch goals that wasn’t quite achieved – a collection of Chapman’s Translated TV Show titles – makes it into print in the near future, as they’re absolutely bloody hilarious.
Soundimals: How to Sneeze In Japanese will be available at the Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds on the 14th and 15th of November. Make sure to follow the Soundimals Tumblr and Facebook pages for regular updates.