What can sidewalk activity mean to someone high above on a balcony?
The opening spread, which establishes the composition that’s used throughout, requires studying to parse: it’s a city sidewalk from almost straight above. At the left is a line of trees; in the middle, a wide sidewalk paved with small, square, welcomingly irregular bricks or stones; toward the right, there’s a thick, unidentifiable line from the top of the page to the bottom. “Slam!” comes a sound from the far right. The thick, rough line is a balcony wall, and onto the balcony emerges a person—but only far enough to show her feet resting on her wheelchair’s footrests. When she peers down toward the sidewalk, readers see the top of her head, the tip of her nose, and her hands gripping the balcony rail. A sidewalk game and bustling pedestrians capture her interest, but nobody will “look up!”—until one boy does. He realizes that lying down will help the girl see him better, and he stirs others to join him. She looks skyward, smiling, and for the first time, the black-and-white (-and-gray) drawings show tiny bits of color: pinks in treetops, a green seedling in a pot. The illustrations’ style is loose and unfinished (the pedestrians below lack eyes), nicely balancing the high concept.
Conceptually sophisticated; especially inviting for young artists ready to explore new visual angles. (Picture book. 5-8)