An early-reader meditation on interdependence.
The backmatter explains that the book’s concept originated with the author’s wife during a July Fourth hike when she came up with the idea for an “Interdependence Day…to celebrate all the ways we are connected to one another and to the planet.” This note would have been better placed as frontmatter to guide readers into and through the book’s abstract meanderings. Throughout, words and pictures describe beings and their interconnectedness, but while the art is captivating in its graphic, sometimes nearly psychedelic play with color and form, meaning is elusive. The first image shows what appears to be a white celestial body surrounded by points of light. A page turn then reads, “I AM ONE,” beside a picture of what now seems to be a white smiley face atop two arms. “HERE IN A BODY,” reads the facing page, and that white being is now within the chest of a black body that’s Haring-like in its simplicity but with eyes looking at the internal being. The text then places the being “ALIVE IN A WORLD” that is “MADE OF AIR / AND OF CLOUD / MADE OF WATER / AND OF EARTH / AND SEED,” etc. The closing pages return to the two-in-one being and then show it with others, but ironically, there’s ultimately failure to make words and pictures work interdependently to express the central concept of interdependence.
Ambitious but weak. (Early reader. 6-8)