Today I have been thinking about Jan Pienkowski. I saw a book of fairy tales illustrated by him in Borders a few years ago and thought his pictures were incredible - you can see why, I hope:
What I didn't remember, until I looked him up online to find out more about him, is that he is also responsible for a few books that had quite a big effect on me as a child - firstly the Meg and Mog books. I can't think of anyone who read these as a child who doesn't have fond memories of them. I particularly liked owl.
But the most important book he designed, according to 5 year old me at any rate, was the Haunted House. It was my first introduction to the flying ducks on the wall thing that I've had a thing for ever since.
But the whole book is incredible, interactive, atmospheric, detailed, and terrifying. This book had me scared of the toilet long before I'd seen the Tooms episodes of the X-files.
But the creepiest thing about it is the abandonment of it. There are hot cups of tea still waiting to be drunk but no sign of any people. You are shown round by the owner of the house but it's unclear if they are the mad one or if perhaps it's you.
Looking at the pictures of it for the first time in years gives me the same sense of dread as when the vermicious knids appear in the lifts of the space station in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
Arghhhh! Nightmares tonight.
Although.. go to his website - http://www.janpienkowski.com/ totally adorable.
Also, I found this on the guardian website - My space - and I think I love him a little bit more.