A child listens closely to the breeze as sounds evoke images and imaginings.
Under a great tree, a child pictured only as a pale-blue silhouette swings. Across the sky images float by: a weathervane, feathers, a bright balloon—making the wind tangible. As the story progresses, Goodman plays with perspective, shrinking the child and tree until sounds take center stage. Silhouettes of dandelionlike flowers tower as a bee buzzes by; gears fill the page, representing the ticking of a watch. The author dabbles with onomatopoeia before sounds begin to represent pets, then people. It is the noises of daily life—and their accompanying images—that tell readers much about who constitutes this child’s world. The protagonist knows that Jill sings in the bath; Peter paints while whistling; and Old Thomas naps in the greenhouse. From this auditory intimacy begins a sort of stream of consciousness, as everyday sounds conjure up fantastical thoughts (elephants, cannon, volcanoes!), until the image of the child swinging repeats, with the thought that it was all a dream. The artwork appears to be collage, with inspiration taken from found illustrations. The images stand out on vast white spaces, sometimes with added graphic shapes. Unfortunately, the execution does not always live up to the idea. While some of the spreads contain complementary elements to create a new statement, others rely solely on the repositioning of an image, the resolution of which is at times inconsistent.
A clever concept, in both progression and design, whose realization sometimes falls short. (Picture book. 3-6)