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Friday, June 12, 2015

The World in a Second, written by Isabel Minhos Martins and illustrated by Bernardo P. Caravalho. Translated from the Portuguese by Lyn Miller-Lachmann. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2015. $22.95 ages 5 and up

"... in a darkened room,
a very old woman closes
her eyes to sleep.

... a boy balances  himself
on his bicycle for the first
time. (Will he fall down
in one second?)"

Everywhere in the world something is happening at just this second. While I am writing this post, my granddaughter is eating breakfast, my brother is driving on the highway, my son is walking in the sunshine, and you are perhaps reading this description of a remarkably designed 'new to us' book.

Originally published in 2008, I'm happy that Enchanted Lion Books has chosen to bring it to North America this year. But for that, children may have missed an exceptional book concerning time and its passage. The text is trim, but packs a powerful message for its readers. The double page spreads
are clearly created to help readers understand the full impact of each of its more than twenty tales. So, when a boat is caught in a storm in the Baltic we seen the vast expanse that is that sea, the crashing waves, the tossed boat and the containers that are being washed overboard.

The bold colors and designs are clearly delineated by black lines. The second-long events happen in world communities - one per spread. A world map and key show readers where those communities are and the time of the day for each one. Page numbers correspond to placement on the map and the time stamp. Readers are made aware of all that can happen in one split second. It is a most engaging premise. They are sure to finish their reading with compelling questions ... what happened to that boat from the Baltic?

Thinking big, while also thinking small, it is both simple and complex. This is a book that will delight and open discussions.

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