Before even laying our eyes on the title page, we have a small inkling for the message this book is about to impart...and an important wake-up call it is!
As the tiny redheaded girl makes her way from bedroom to den, we watch her toss her game console, her laptop and her cell phone...and then she checks out the TV, to find it's showing a rerun. Turn the page and there she stands surrounded by a plethora of unsatisfying technology. Only now is our attention given to the title page, consisting of a whole lot of white space, and the two hellos. It offers an open invitation to come in and see what happens!
As she wanders the house in search of company, she finds her mother at her laptop, her father texting, her brother playing games on a tablet. None pays any attention to her greeting. From afar, she notices a floating leaf at the front door and is inquisitive enough to follow it outside...where there is much to discover.
Matthew Cordell's ability to tell his story through his use of 'a bamboo pen and India ink, a bit of pencil, a Macintosh computer, a large format waterproof inkjet printer, and watercolor on paper' is testament to his formidable talent and his love of story. Hello is the message, and few other words are needed as he focuses always on the heroine. As she moves to the outdoors, bright color and the senses take her further and further from home. Her imagination runs wild, and she escapes the humdrum for the wild beauty of nature run amok. She talks to bugs, smells flowers, and revels in the wonder she finds there. When the horse she says hello to talks back, we know we are in for a ride. Off they go and are joined by flying fish and whales, apes, chickens, mice and giraffes. Their run comes to an abrupt halt with the interruptive ringing of her cell phone.
Where is she? The family has noticed her absence. Her parents are frantic. She is contrite. She quickly returns to the grey, drab interior of her home, bringing natural gifts to each family member. As she presents these gifts, she gingerly takes and closes down the technology...color returns! Off they go together to discover what lies just beyond their front door.