Jörg Müller (1942) is an internationally renowned Swiss illustrator. He grew up in Küsnacht near Zurich, trained at the Biel School of Applied Arts and began working in advertising in Paris, Zurich and Bern. He soon turned to picture books and with his 1973 debut book, which is the original version of Where There Was a Meadow, he won the prestigious German Youth Literature Award. He often deals with ethical and ecological issues in his books, leading a cross-section of young and old to reflect on issues of environmental sustainability. In 1994 he received the Hans Christian Andersen Prize for his work, the most important international award for children’s and young people’s literature.
Seven incredible drawings of the same landscape, portrayed from 1953 to 1972, and how it changes in such a short time. The debut work by Swiss artist and illustrator Jörg Müller, first published in 1973 and thanks to which the author made an international name for himself, was then something completely new in the world of picture books and is today as relevant as ever.
No words, it is only the plates that speak and a date that marks time: where there was a meadow, a stream, a house painted with vegetable gardens and flowering trees, shortly afterwards there is also a tractor and a train passing in the background. Page after page the forest and the stream are gone, chimneys and industrial plants arrive, the painted house is demolished to make way for a busy motorway and a supermarket.
A landscape that changes face in the space of a few years, a tale in pictures that is not intended to be a nostalgic cliché of the rural environment, but a chronicle of vivid immediacy of the change brought about by the glorious age of progress. The author’s beautifully drawn plates are timeless and without place, painting a scenario that most of us have experienced over the past sixty years: we all remember that childhood meadow that is now gone, and unfortunately we continue to see others disappear.
The edition of this book tries to be partly faithful to the first, original German edition by giving the pictures space and centrality. Dove c’era un prato (Where There Was a Meadow), which won the author the German Youth Literature Award in 1974, is today a great classic on the environment, which triggers urgent and necessary reflection.
With a text by Giulia Mirandola, careful curator of cultural projects that focus on visual reading and the relationship with the landscape.
Illustrations by Jörg Müller With a text by Giulia Mirandola Book design by Bunker
30 × 23.5 cm 24 pages Hardback Italian Isbn 978-88-98030-39-2 First published May 2021