A young child invites readers into an imaginary world, provided they know how to “sing,” “share,” and “dream.”
Myriad birds, flying fish, sea anemones, snails, and other animals live on the pale child’s island, keeping company during tea parties, on paper-boat voyages, and inside a giant birdhouse. The child’s seriousness in orchestrating these island activities will make perfect sense to readers—they know imagining isn’t playtime. Pretending feels immensely personal, intimate even, and the child’s emotive brown eyes show this in their intensity and, at times, vulnerability. Visual accents (rosy cheeks, a chestnut bob, a kaleidoscopic sun dress, turquoise hair clip) make the protagonist’s tender age clear, as well as how extraordinarily dense, flamboyant, and boundless a very young child’s imagination can be. Watercolors, colored pencils, and stitched red thread (which appears as dotted lines incorporated into each illustration) create vivid pictures of this pretend place, where anything can happen. Lemony yellows, teal blues, tangerine oranges, and strawberry reds appear throughout, and while cheery, the palette and papers emit a matte, mellow softness. Similarly soothing, rounded contours create cushy compositions on each spread, from the curvature of a bear’s ear to leaves, petals, clouds, and the spiral of a seashell. The stitched, red linework links each imaginary experience with a thread of commonality, and its line breaks provide permeability, spaces for readers to cross over into the protagonist’s inner world.
Readers will certainly make the leap and stay a while. (Picture book. 3-7)