What If...

Thierry Lenain, illus. by Olivier Tallec, trans. from the French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. Enchanted Lion, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59270-281-7
“A child sat on his island, looking out at the world and thinking.” So begins this beautifully illustrated, sparely worded picture book in which a child, on each new spread, envisions a more just, peaceful, and thriving world than the one he sees. “What if we lasso the clouds and bring rain to the desert?” “What if we finally learned to share water, bread, air, and earth?” Finally, after the child looks “out at the world from his island one last time,” a last twist introduces a profound idea: “he decided... to be born.” Paintings by Tallec (Jerome by Heart) illustrate each scenario with an effective mix of sketched-pencil figures and richly saturated colors that echo the scene’s solidly entrenched sorrows, the child’s otherworldly presence, and the hope in Lenain’s words. More meditative parable than story, this unusual and moving offering may be best suited as a prompt for reflection and conversation among readers who are asking questions about compassionate values, the power of individual action, and the role of imagination in creating a loving, life-sustaining world for all. Ages 6–9. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 05/02/2019
Release date: 06/01/2019
Genre: Children's
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