In this Argentine import, laundry day leads to comforting conversations about loss.
The story opens upon a mother and child sitting at a table, plates empty. The somber mood is supported with the white, cream, gray, and black palette. As the youngster describes a special passageway that sometimes appears in their yard, the mother hangs two tomato-red sheets on the clothesline. On the other side of the sheets, viewers see the child diving into the grass to “swim” toward the man (presumably a close relative) who’s mirroring the child’s actions on the other side of the gutter. In this fantasy world, “there’s no danger. / And nothing, nothing at all, can happen to you.” The man’s absence is not explained, but the probability that it is permanent is suggested when his porkpie hat appears on the protagonist’s head at the conclusion. In Schimel’s translation, Wernicke’s words are few but well chosen and expertly paced, the sentences split among the pages allowing for unhurried absorption of meaning. Her curved figures are solid, with cream-colored skin; straight, black hair; and short lines for eyes. No mouths are visible, a decision that adds to the contemplative aura. Subtle patterns add interest, and red—ultimately applied to the mother—signals warmth and love. Joining the quest for the passageway, she notes: “Although we may not always see it, / we can always go looking for it.”
A gentle model for living while missing a loved one.(Picture book. 4-7)