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ISLE OF YOU by David LaRochelle


by David LaRochelle ; illustrated by Jaime Kim

Pub Date: Dec. 11th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9116-5
Publisher: Candlewick

The voice of an omniscient narrator, who may or may not be a caregiver, speaks directly to an unhappy child with an invitation to a very special place.

The child follows directions to the beautiful title isle “just across the bay.” Ferried across by a toy elephant in a sailboat, the child is given an enthusiastic welcome by more adorable animals and some other children. The little one swims in a waterfall, rides a giant eagle, relaxes in a hammock, and happily engages with some of the other children. Several of the activities are stereotypically girl-associated, and the other children appear to be girls with varying skin tones and hair textures; the little protagonist has light skin and a brown pageboy and is only suggested as female. After elaborate entertainments and a sweet feast, the child is assured that “someone loves you very, very, very much” before being borne safely home. Deep purple, bright pastel pink, and yellow watercolors dominate the color palette, creating a magical, otherworldly atmosphere. But it is also somewhat creepy as well. The Isle of You exists only for the protagonist’s happiness, even the other children there, who appear to have no existence in the real world. Apparently intended to build self-esteem and comfort, it seems to encourage self-centeredness instead, as does the ending play on the pronunciation of the title words.

Treacle drips from every page. Find self-esteem elsewhere.

(Picture book. 2-4)