A boy daydreams, wondering “where the birds are flying to,” “who makes the clouds,” “what the best playground in the world might be like,” “what the crossing guard’s sign would taste like,” and “how the stars shine.”
Grown-ups don’t like his reverie one bit. They hiss harsh reprimands, needling him to stay focused and not to let his imagination carry him away. His art teacher, however, encourages him to do just that and offers him a blank piece of drawing paper. The humdrum sepia tones of everyday life disperse as colorful, sparkling birds carry the boy (and readers) aloft into the upper atmosphere of his imagination, a place throbbing with light and color and spinning with spiraling shapes and twisty-turning coils. Children quickly see these delightfully elaborate illustrations (brimming with round bears, bustling bunnies, swirling stars, and puffy clouds) as the boy’s unfettered imaginings, his answers to all those earlier questions. They could easily spend hours belly-down on a rug pondering each of the five double-page spreads, all spectacularly whimsical, humorous, wild, bold, and unbridled. While adult sensibilities might find these pictures overwhelming (or even a bit like a roller-coaster ride after too much candy), children won’t question them at all.
Few books so truthfully represent a child’s wandering, unwavering wondering. (Picture book. 2-8)