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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Fern and Horn, written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. Groundwood Books. 2019. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"Fern loves looking at stars.
They sparkle and glow from
a million light years away.
Sometimes she hears them
singing. Fern also loves making stars. She cuts out bright morning stars, fiery shooting stars and even starfish. She sprinkles stardust everywhere. Fern hangs the stars so high that not even a ferocious elephant could ... "

Did you know that siblings don't always get along? If you have, or know, children, you will also know that to be true. Fern and Horn are siblings, artists in their own right.

Fern has a vivid imagination and uses it to create amazing images of those things she loves in her world: flowers, butterflies, birds, bees, caterpillars and orange trees. Her brother Horn, also imaginative but with a bit of a concern that he cannot replicate his sister's work, is inspired by Fern's suggestion to find what he likes and draw it.

Horn's love for creating big things like elephants and polar bears wreaks havoc on his sister's artwork. Fern is obviously annoyed at the destruction, and offers terse advice for reining in his projects. Not to be deterred, Fern moves on to a moat and shark-protected castle for her next project. Horn, not wanting to be outdone, has his next bright idea.

"Meanwhile, Horn pulls out a long, green, scaly thing
from the bottom drawer of his dresser. He puts it on and
sneaks out into the yard."

Fern proves how well she knows her sibling when she thwarts his new plan with a tempting treat. After a short, quiet truce, the two are on to their next artistic endeavor.

Marie-Louise Gay's illustrations are done using acrylic, watercolor, HB and 6B pencil and collage. In her deft hands, those art supplies accentuate the true brilliance of the artist's imagination as she captures the genius and resourcefulness of young children. Vibrant, textured and detailed, every spread offers delight.

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