Book Review of Miriam Elia


We Go Out* and We Learn At Home* by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia

A little while ago I reviewed the first book in this series from artist Miriam Elia, you can have a peek at the review HERE.  So I was really excited to read her next two books as I just loved the first one so much.

A little background on these books if your not familiar.  Miriam is an artist and she created the first book along with Ezra as a sort of spoof or rather an artistic satire of the old Ladybird books from Penguin that we all read as kids, you know, these ones.

Long story short Penguin got involved and threatened to sue if Miriam didn't stop selling the books, so she changed out all the obvious penguin comparison logos, images etc and created Dung Beetle books.  She gave away the old ones for free and went on to sell the new, less obviously similar books that went on to be a massive hit and sold out over and over again.

Everything was all beautiful and rosy until penguin then brought out their own 'Grown Up' versions of their ladybird books, you'll have seen them in places like Urban Outfitters.  Now none of us will ever officially know what made penguin release these books and I feel like everyone will have their own view and opinion of the situation at the end of the day. Penguin were sort of 'spoofing' themselves, their own original work from years past but after telling Miriam to stop doing the exact same thing people then got angry as did Miriam it would seem and she created a book cover and placed it on her twitter as a response to the situation called 'We Sue an Artist, the Dung Beetle guide to Corporate Intimidation, for ages 5+'.  The whole story is covered in greater detail HERE and it really is an interesting read.

So after all that drama, Miriam is now back and has created these two new books.  They are in the exact same vein as her first with beautiful illustration's and very few lines of text but of what there is, it is very funny.

What I would say is that the first book was laugh out loud funny it, it was light hearted and it felt good natured and I would say even though these two are very similar in theme, there is at times a more biting undertone.  Now that could be down to the above situation I can't imagine what it must be like to try and fight your way against a massive corporation you would expect anyone who has tried to fight against something like that for their work to be slightly more jaded but it could also just be because of the world we live in.  These two books do look at the wider view of the world, the sort of way some people's private and public views of things differ.  And maybe its Miriam shinning a light on the more negative undercurrent that a certain part of society seem to be tuning in to that made a couple of these pages feel a little uncomfortable to read  and a little less light hearted as I felt sad knowing that actually some people think these things but I guess that's what satire is about and its important that it was acknowledged and expressed in these books and whatever the reason for Miriam doing it I'm glad she did as it really did make me reflect and think after having a read of them.

I really loved them and apart from the couple of pages I mentioned, the book does have such fun humour and I really do think it would make the most perfect Christmas gift or stocking filler for someone.

I think buying books like this is also really important to show your support for indie artists and small business owners too, it can't always be easy as Miriam's story shows and as a lover of books I feel really thankful that there are writers and artists like Miriam out there who won't be silenced and still keep creating beautiful art for us all to enjoy not matter what or who they come up against.

You can buy the books from Wordery and get free delivery on all your orders too.