A Blue So Blue
Jean-Francois Dumont, . . Sterling, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4027-2139-7
This visually engaging tale follows the adventures of a bespectacled boy who is never without a paintbrush as he searches for "the blue of his dreams." He embarks on a series of journeys, dipping his brush into blues at each destination. Friendly guides point him toward other sites: a museum guard (who curiously does not forbid the child to touch masterpieces with his brush) sends him to the seashore; a guitarist playing "blue notes" tells the boy of the Blue Men in Africa; and the Blue Man chief wisely advises, "What you are looking for I do not know... Yet I do know that it may never have been very far away." Returning home, the boy indeed finds just the blue he's been looking for, in his mother's eyes. Dumont's meticulous artwork ranges from a ceiling-high perspective of the boy's room, whose elongated vertically striped wallpaper evokes the psychological roots of dreams, to the horizontal expanse of a ship that carries the boy to a turquoise patchwork resembling the Carribean. The dense, occasionally sing-song text pales next to the quality of the artwork, and the ending borders on cliché ("I looked and I asked and I started to roam,/ till I found it at last—right here at home"). But given the combination of accomplished illustrations and a compelling tale of a young painter's passion to realize his dreams of artistic expression, this book may well become an inspiration for dreamers and budding artists alike. Ages 5-8.
Reviewed on: 05/02/2005