The French duo that collaborated on the foldout book Panorama (2009) returns with another visually exciting collection of images, this time bound traditionally.
Each page—and an occasional double-page spread—contains a linocut presenting an arresting, tactile composition. A white bird rests in a nest built from chiseled diagonals, short blue lines cradling the creature against the black tree; a train, inferable from the clues of distant lights in a tunnel, approaches readers from under an arch of brown bricks above, with pebbles and track below. There is much to peruse and describe with a baby or by a young child, and readers in the know will recognize animals from Jolivet’s previous books. The text, however, is less successful. The need for the repetitive first-person declarations is questionable: “I am in the apricot, said the pit. / I am in the bed, said the teddy bear”). Perhaps the somnolent syntax is intended to induce the sleep depicted in the final scene of a father holding his son, who’s clasping a book—this book. Maybe it is all meant to climax in the resulting multiple meanings of “And me, I am in your arms!”
Minus variance in prepositions, relationship among pages or discernible story arc (except for a conclusion), this feels more like a museum stroll than a coherent picture book—stimulating but not wholly satisfying. (Picture book. 3-5)