Hope Larson, . . AdHouse, $15 (97pp) ISBN 978-0-9721794-9-2
Hailey believes in magic. Or at least she tries to, when she visits the woods near her house where, as a young girl, she first meets the endearing Salamander, who tells her a tale to while away a summer afternoon. As she grows older, she meets Salamander again as an adolescent and then a young adult. This book is a collection of the stories the two friends take turns telling each other: of swimming with a minnow in the stream, of flying on the back of a hawk, of shrinking through the pores of the skin to raft on red blood cells and fly past electrons. These stories are told almost exclusively through images, in bold blocks of black, white and green. The drawings are surreal, the dialogue looping through the scenery and the limbs of the characters, stretching into the nature that surrounds them. Salamander and other animal characters are drawn as silhouetted human figures wearing representational masks, making Salamander and Hailey's journeys seem even more bizarre. A coming-of-age story about a girl learning to hold onto magic as she grows older, this is a also whimsical, dreamlike flight of fancy.
Reviewed on: 07/18/2005