Startling collages of torn photos, cut paper and calligraphy seek to describe love’s many forms and feelings through comparisons found in nature.
Ripped photographs and Matisse-like figures and shapes converge, overlap and cohere to create stirring compositions that call for scrutiny. Young readers might feel a bit disoriented by jagged, kaleidoscopic artwork, as dizzying and confounding as love itself. Fold-out panels contribute to an ongoing sense of playful mystery that dances across these spreads depicting nature's swirls, undulations and power. Thunderstorms, waves, rain storms, clouds, fire and forests surge. Young’s poetry, both puzzling and poignant, follows the flow of the pictures, dragging eyes across the illustrations’ challenging, serried landscape. Some lines seem to speak to a lover rather than a child, leaving little readers out. “Should you be a great forest, I’ll caress your branches and make you sway”; “Should you be a gentle wave, I’ll wait for you to lap my shores.” The aching vulnerability and deep-seated love evident in every line, however, echoes the unabashed love children transmit to the world (their parents, friends, teachers, coaches) around them. An author’s note and the poem printed again in its entirety provide clarity at the book’s close.
Mystifying and ultimately uplifting, this book challenges all of us to seek out the dizzying scope of love. (Picture book. 10 & up)