A bored child takes his mother’s advice, and as he becomes more observant of his surroundings, the garden transforms into a dazzling jungle.
Opening scenes depict black silhouettes (with white details) against a lavender background; they channel the delicacy and whimsy of Arthur Rackham images. It is a bright coral butterfly that leads Tom into a series of seven, intricate, laser-cut pages that comprise the dense jungle. Each of these pages is decorated on both sides, and the sequence gradually transitions from midnight blue to mint green, the leafy layers and hanging vines of the card stock creating an illusion of depth and distance. Exotic birds, fragile flowers, and animals (including a cat that morphs into a leopard) punctuate the coolness with spots of coral. Tom remains a black silhouette as he climbs a tree and swims in a river. In contrast to this lush landscape is a pedestrian, singsong text told in aabb couplets (translated from the French): “Why not take a look at what’s outside your door? / You’ll find lots of things that you’ve not seen before,” reads the mother’s initial admonishment. Returning home, the protagonist is excited about his “journey” and anxious to revisit the jungle, suggesting that imagination is an antidote to boredom. Since the premise is not new and there is not much action, this title needed a more skillfully written narrative to rise above the rest.
A pleasure for the eye; the ear wants more. (Picture book. 4-7)