Picture-book trailers usually adhere to one formula: artwork / zooms x pans + music = trailer. There’s something soulless about this approach; by removing both the effort of reading as well as the interaction of parent and child, we’re left with a simulacrum of an experience, a readaloud as interpreted by a robot.
However! Occasionally elements cohere in such a way to transcend the robotic. The trailer for Wooley Cottswold’s Rose & the Bald-Headed Elephant (Archie Publishing, 2009) only tweaks the above algorithm, but there’s gold in them there tweaks. Instead of panning and zooming, a spotlight widens to allow more and more of the image to be revealed, emulating a reader’s own discovery. The halting rhythms, the morose characters, the generous white space, and the noodling accordion create the feel of an experimental French film. All that’s missing is a weeping mime.
Verdict: Sacre bleu! The text moves too fast for children, which is a tip-off that this isn’t really for them. But for the adults in charge of finding the book, this is more inviting than a bottle of French Bordeaux.