A tutu-clad child encounters existentialism through movement in this 47-word poem by award-winning Argentine poet Luján (Stephen and the Beetle, 2012, etc.).
The English text follows the Spanish on each page as French artist Sadat’s surreal illustrations float by on a mostly black background. Digitally collaged creatures done in colored pencil, ink and crayon interact with the precocious ballerina, who creates a universe with a wave of her hand as her lovingly indulgent parents watch barefoot from the loveseat: “I moved my hand and / I found a coconut. // I shook the coconut / and I found a lake. // I stirred the lake / and found a fish. // I swirled the fish and / I found the moon.” In the dark of the house, after she and her parents vacate the “stage,” one of her manifested creatures, a rainbow unicorn, springs free from the living-room rug and gallops off, presumably seeking its own destiny. The palette is largely grays and blacks, modulating to include bright pastels as the little girl’s imagination takes hold. Whereas the artwork can be described as naptime soothing, the New Age–y text flirts with pretention, and the overall effect is just plain precious, more idealized than celebratory.
Adults wishing to engage children in experiments with poetry and movement may find this flight of fancy to be an acceptable jumping-off point for further exploration. (Picture book. 4-8)