A lonely child’s perseverance helps her find the unlikeliest of companions.
With a single “La,” a small Asian child confidently begins to sing, standing in a shaft of light. Within a few gray-hued pages, the girl (identified as such in the author’s and illustrator’s notes) realizes that she’s singing alone. Her imaginary spotlight gone, she stomps off to chase the colorful leaves outside. Still alone, she sings and shouts “Laaaaaaaaa!” to no avail. Dejected, she goes home, venturing out again in the purple evening. She tries hard to get the moon’s attention, even climbing a ladder to sing to it. (Here, her “La”s are set in black type against the dark purple sky, posing a low-contrast challenge to legibility.) Finally, the moon responds with a firm “LA!” to begin a sparkling duet. In a nearly wordless book, DiCamillo delivers an inspiring, powerful story beautifully realized through Kim’s mixed-media illustrations. At more than twice the length of a standard 32-page picture book, that’s quite a feat. The square format contains soft colors that contrast with strong geometric design elements, subtly underscoring the push and pull of emotional tension. The limited palette of comforting, complementary purples and yellows along with the character’s expressive body language evoke both her loneliness and determination to overcome it.
For a dreamer, it’s easy to imagine a singer in the benevolent face in the moon—here it’s a symbol of hope. (Picture book. 5-adult)