Pikiq lives in the far north, a land with very few colors until he discovers a surprise in the snow.
While out with his sidekicks, Kri the crow and Bou the snowy owl, Pikiq spies a buried box. To his surprise, it contains art supplies and a book with pictures of strange trees and unusual animals that spark his imagination. Taking the paper and colors, he draws for hours. When he uses up all the paper, he paints on the snow. That night Pikiq decides to go on a trip to find the book’s amazing animals and trees, falling asleep with colors swirling in his mind and dreams: Pikiq and his friends pass a sleeping giant and bounce on the drum of the giant’s wife; they become lost in a maze of caribou antlers and gaze at a forest of green elephants. One stunning double-page spread finds the friends playing “hide-and-seek with some trees,” the barren trunks and branches aboveground, with brightly leaved mirror images below. Yayo’s simple story, stunning use of color, and magical-realism sensibility take young readers on a fanciful adventure that ends with a sweet little twist. While the adventure includes tired tropes—Pikiq appears to live in an igloo—its playfulness and affection for its main character help to mitigate them.
The book’s subtle message makes it a great vehicle to help children explore their own creativity. (Picture book. 3-5)