I ran across this little book in an antique shop in Yarmouth last week. Its got a beautiful feel in the hand, and a little red ribbon bound bookmark. Then I find that its got a raised seal on the title page indicating that it comes from the Mark Skinner Library in Manchester, Vermont; a building I have recently complete a study on, and am now engaged to design a replacement building for, as they've outgrown their building and their property. So that cinched the deal.
When I got this book home, I found that it was signed and numbered by the author. This brought me back to the title page and I find that this book was written, illustrated, printed and bound by the author at the Diamond Hill Press in Brandon, Vermont. The Inventer is the second book in the Beanville series, which I understand are collectable.
The Inventer, by Philip Sutherland, is a chapter book, so I read it in an afternoon. The writing is folksy and warm, and some of the feelings the author attributes to his child characters walk the line between 'thoughtful for this age group' and 'do ten-year-olds really think like that?' The illustrations appear to be linoleum block prints, and fill full pages within the body of the book. The illustrations are printed in a deeps sepia brown, but they aren't plates so I wonder if the the text is also the same deep brown, but just isn't as obvious.
Sutherland also does a great job of setting the tone and the mood, of a quiet New England town, in the first weeks of of summer vacation. Its so sleepy, that when the excitement begins, its almost seems like too much for this quiet town to handle.
The story was fun, and I can see that Beanville could be rich with stories to fill a series of these beautiful little volumes. I'll keep my eye out for another, but not so much for the story, but for the whole package. Its clear that Sutherland loves books, loves stories, and enjoys the craft that goes into creating them from beginning to end.