Uplifting in more ways than one, this prizewinning import suggests that little things can change lives—and perhaps even the world.
Placing small, uncomplicated shapes against large fields of uniform color to create an aptly simple look, Albertine provides a visual plot for Zullo’s meditative abstractions. Some days “have something a little more,” which is “not made to be noticed” but “there to be discovered.” A man pulls up to a cliff in a truck and opens the back to release a flight of birds. Spotting one small, shy bird remaining, he companionably sits with it, then persuades it to take wing by flapping his arms and falling comically to the ground. Later, though, it returns—leading all the other birds—to carry the man up into the sky so that he can take flight on his own. Drawn with delicate precision, the characters express fear, friendship, yearning and delight through glances, posture and other cues that are not too subtle for observant children to pick up. More than half of the spreads are wordless, and for younger audiences at least, the rest could just as well be too.
Adult explication may be needed for the textual rubric; the visually told story is enthralling all on its own. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)