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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Daytime Visions: An Alphabet. Adapted into English by Isol and Elisa Amado. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2016. $26.50 ages 2 and up

"When I look at these pages
now I see that the letters have
made friends with their images,
as though they've known each
other forever. Maybe they really
were just waiting for me to draw
them to begin to chat among
themselves and find their
reflections in each other."

Alphabet books are so hard to present without describing every clever way an artist shows meaning. In Isol's beautifully crafted book about the letters that make up our words and stories, she shares her distinct artistic vision on pages that help us see them in a very unique and bold way.

Let's start, at least, with A! An enraged dog is furiously barking at an in-flight bird; the words are: That's not an answer. Readers are invited to determine what the story might be, allowing for many personal interpretations of just one double page spread.

Nothing prepares the reader for what comes next. Paging through we find that each of the images is created with complexity and offer an opportunity for close consideration of the author's meaning.
Every page requires food for thought and individual interpretation. Every time I read it, I choose a new favorite image, and word or phrase.

"O ... You are such an optimist" shows two black birds sitting on a tree branch, one warbling a carefree tune while the other sits miserably on the branch uttering its complaint.

"N ... A nightmare" shows a child in a red animal masked hood and matching coat being stalked by another animal. What might those animals be? It is left to us to decide for ourselves.

Always thought-provoking, often unusual and mysterious, some readers will feel uncomfortable when explaining their own perception of the artwork. I suspect they will be the older readers, and even adults. Children will find the pages entertaining and worthy of their attention, and of their opinion.

What an invitation to storytelling it provides!

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