Hearts, her latest picture book, is a wordless book. Done in her favourite medium, water colour, the illustrations have softer colours and feel. Appropriately so, the story is about a girl finding a bottle of hearts and returning each heart to the owner. When she finds one heart broken, she mends it carefully. Unable to locate the owner, she wears the heart on her sleeve hoping that somehow the owner may recognise and claim it. Meanwhile, the 'heartless' owner is angry and destructive.
There are many layers to this story and the use of metaphors in the illustrations is rather clever. While not strictly for children, a child will enjoy the more direct messages of the story. Read into it whatever you wish and it will probably speak to you in different ways at different times and that's the job of a good book.
Emila's illustrations for Puteri Gunung Ledang uses the motifs of Malaysian batik sarongs which can be seen in the repeated floral and plant designs placed symmetrically. However, unlike the bright colours of batik, Emila uses primarily red, yellow, grey and white, resulting in a subdued effect.
The story is told in poetry which gives it drama and pathos, suitable for a play. This is definitely one book to add to your collection if you are a fan of folktales and a collector of beautiful picture books.
Note: We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the editor, Datuk Hjh Zaiton Ajamain.