Martha & Me

It’s Raining Elephants. Thames & Hudson, $16.95 (88p) ISBN 978-0-500-65142-1
Martha, a redheaded child who loves to draw, paints a lion. It leaps off the paper, asks for lunch, and explores its surroundings, narrating in rhyme (“While Martha is making me good things to eat,/ I sneak up behind her and tickle her feet”). No parents are in evidence, and their play includes a water fight (“We splash and spray water all over the place”) and a misunderstanding (“Oh no! Martha’s angry! Just hear that huge roar!”). After a cab ride to the park and a great leap into the sky, the lion is gone, and Martha, who loves him, is shaken. Nina Wehrle and Evelyne Laube, the Swiss illustration duo behind this story, draw reality and fantasy in competing styles. The real objects appear in clinically precise black-and-white line drawings, while the lion is rendered in a loose, inky wash with red, yellow, and blue accents. Clashes between the two worlds animate many of the spreads. Did Martha create the lion or merely issue an invitation to a creature that already existed? Either way, its energy personifies the creative impulse, wild and ungovernable. Ages 3–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 01/01/2018
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