Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LEON AND THE PLACE BETWEEN by Angela McAllister

LEON AND THE PLACE BETWEEN

By Angela McAllister (Author) , Grahame Baker-Smith (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4546-5
Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Aimed at readers who enjoy such elaborately illustrated, strongly atmospheric ventures into mysterious worlds as Neil Gaiman’s The Wolves in the Walls, illustrated by Dave McKean (2003), and Chris Van Allsburg’s The Garden of Abdul Gasazi (1979), this episode briefly casts a young member of a stage magician’s audience through a die-cut hole into that Place “between there and back again” where magicians’ props and assistants go when they disappear. Illustrating a brief text presented circus-poster style in an eye-crossing variety of typefaces, Baker-Smith fills the worlds on both sides of the small entryway with dense, deeply shadowed digital collages, shot through in the Place Between with swirls of stars and golden filigree, sprays of leaves and flowers, figures in exotic dress, streams of playing cards and ripples of rich fabrics. Picking up a rabbit there, Leon steps back out of the magician’s cabinet to rejoin his skeptical but awed brothers, and tells his excited little sister that “the place that magic takes you” is open to “anyone... Anyone who believes.” Fair insight, that, though trite and easier said than done. (Picture book. 6-9)