Abrams, $29.95, 224 pages
This 35th Anniversary Edition includes 8 frameable prints, as well as a look at Rien Poortvliet’s Gnome Sketchbook. We learn all about the detail of Gnome life through the text and illustrations. The iconic pointy red hat that adorns the heads of most Gnomes was designed as a safety measure to allow owls to depict friends vs. food when seeing scuttling through the tall grass. Gnomes definitely don’t live with a thought toward any feminist movement, with women who only ovulate once, have twins after a year- long pregnancy and have everlasting perky chests; whilst the men stay virile for 350 years.
It’s learning these little quirks and trivial facts about Gnomes that makes this work so charming. All these facts lead up to nine legends. As someone who first heard of such creatures from hearing of postcards being sent from a Gnome roaming the world, this puts an enchanting spin on an entirely different species. The art work simply draws you in to their world and the words take you on an adventure. If you’ve never experienced this book in its 35 years of existence, this collector’s edition is a great way to do so.
Reviewed by Janet Wright