A child experiences synesthesia in a surrealistic landscape.
In each double-page spread, Marshall poses a poetic query; the first is: “Do you believe I can touch the stars?” The brown-haired, white youngster, wearing the same blue dress and accompanied by a faithful dog in each scene, plucks a star out of the sky and rides on the back of a giant owl in response. When asked to consider whether it’s possible to “smell a rainbow,” readers see the child peer over the edge of an oversized cauldron as the steam forms an arcing rainbow. Domeniconi’s jewel-toned, Magritte-inspired paintings employ a haunting light and playfully illustrate the words. A highlight is the page (and also the cover) that realizes the line “Taste the clouds?” as the tyke picks a cloud from a tree as if it were fruit. As captivating as the images are, will very young children, who are still learning to describe their own senses, be able to make the poetic leap to seeing music and listening to colors? The text becomes muddy at the end, and it is unclear who is responding to whom in the book’s questioning format.
While a lovely package, it will float over the heads of most board-book readers. (Board book. 3-4)