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Saturday, December 2, 2017

lines, by Suzy Lee. Chronicle, Raincoast. 2017. $24.99 ages 3 and up

with a

will it

I am a huge admirer of Suzy Lee's work. If you haven't seen Wave (Chronicle, 2008), the story of a little girl's day at the beach given such beauty and simplicity, or Shadow (Chronicle, 2010), the adventure inherent in creative play and imagination that begins and ends with light, you should seek them out. Follow those two brilliant wordless books by finding her other work, including Ask Me (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) and This Beautiful Day (Atheneum, 2017), to name a few. All are worthy of your attention.

This fall she has a new wordless book, lines. It is a picture book about artists - one who creates a wintry world with pencil, the other creates magic on an ice surface in skates. The front endpaper shows a fresh piece of art paper, a pencil and an eraser. As we page forward, we meet a young skater, with a red toque and red mittens, and watch her glide effortlessly across the spread. Her joy and skill are evident as, page turn after page turn, she moves in ever more complicated maneuvers - until she falls, losing her toque and her dignity.

Next, a crumpled ball of paper and discarded drawing tools. The artist is as discouraged as the fallen skater. Wait! Another page turn shows the young girl on the ice (on crumpled paper), aware of yet another skater taking a tumble. Then more slipping, sliding, and relaxed enjoyment of the predicament that each is in - and everyone making the best of it. The final two spreads show the joy to be found in winter, out on the ice, with a community of skaters.

Don't miss the final landscape!

Energetic, emotional and surprising, it is one of my favorite picture books this year.


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