The Wonder

Faye Hanson. Candlewick/Templar, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7957-6
It’s a dull, hard world out there, one with little patience for daydreamers like the boy at the center of this first picture book from British author-illustrator Hanson. Whether he “wonders where the birds are flying to” while walking through a park or “what the best playground in the world might be like” as he enters school, the boy is met with scolding from teachers, crossing guards, and more. “Wake up, daydreamer!” grumbles a bus driver when the boy bumps another passenger. Luckily, there is art class. In a dazzling sequence of five wordless spreads, the boy’s earlier musings explode into full-color images, faded sepia scenes of everyday life replaced by intricately rendered fantasy scenarios. Expressively feathered and jewel-bedecked birds fly above a vast, twisty subterranean landscape full of steampunk machinery and dozens of cozy fire-lit nooks. The “best playground” resembles a surging wave of red-white-and-blue tents, Ferris wheels, and slides, while an army of animal musicians, clowns, and entertainers tumbles across the page. A stirring visual celebration of a child’s creative potential. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/2015
Release date: 09/08/2015
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