The Yes

Sarah Bee, illus. by Satoshi Kitamura. Eerdmans, $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5449-0
Part Phantom Tollbooth, part E.E. Cummings, this allegory stars a Yes, “a great big orange thing” who sets off to find his fate. Veteran illustrator Kitamura (The History of Money) paints the Yes as a featureless, three-legged, Matisselike creature lumbering across a barren plain filled with adversaries—the Nos. “They were so many and so very that you could see nothing but Nos. They made all the Here and all the Else a no-ness and a not-ness.” Newcomer Bee spins her lines of prose-poetry with a sure touch, creating a series of episodes in which the Yes is swarmed by the Nos but succeeds anyway: “No, too big,” they whine. “No, too tall. No, too silly. No, you’ll fall.” Ignoring them all, Yes climbs a tree, fords a river, and, at last, scales a mountain to escape the Nos forever. Kitamura’s blobby shapes and pared-down compositions echo Bee’s childlike lyricism as Yes crosses golden plains and green mountainsides, backlit by limpid skies. The story is about declaring independence and conquering doubt, and Bee’s writing itself provides a rich sense of invention and liberation. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/24/2014
Release date: 02/01/2015
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-84939-710-0
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-78344-090-0
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