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IF I COULDN'T BE ANNE by Kallie George


by Kallie George ; illustrated by Geneviève Godbout

Pub Date: May 12th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-77049-928-7
Publisher: Tundra Books

An homage to L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

A picture book “inspired by Anne of Green Gables” could have intriguing possibilities—and there are legions of Anne fans worldwide already primed to love anything Anne. But therein lies the problem. The narrative’s storyline, and therefore its relevance, relies on readers’ knowledge of events in the middle-grade Anne of Green Gables book—an improbable occurrence for readers (unless they are nostalgic adults) of this picture book. Channeling Anne’s legendary imagination—so brilliantly created by Montgomery in her book—author George attempts to string the essence of various chapters of Anne of Green Gables into a sort of stream-of-consciousness Anne-ness, but she succeeds only in presenting a disembodied saccharine-ness. The repetitive “Anne with an e,” so important to her character development in the novel, becomes tedious in 40 pages. Godbout’s pastel-and–colored-pencil artwork infuses the double-page spreads with a visual delicacy created by the pairing of a sophisticated palette with a filmy execution style. While the full-color illustrations are well designed and offer a good variety of perspectives, their diaphanous atmosphere has the effect of further saturating the narrative’s already rose-colored reverence and gives the whole an overall effect of oozing in treacle. While the author’s sincere admiration of Anne shines through, this execution drowns in sentimentality.

Young readers are advised: Wait and read the original instead.

(Picture book. 4-7)