Tintinnabula

Margo Lanagan, illus. by Rovina Cai. Little Hare, $19.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-742975-25-2
Meditative prose by Lanagan (The Brides of Rollrock Island) offers a vision of refuge for those escaping trouble, imagining first what might drive someone to seek the sanctuary of Tintinnabula: “In times of drought and wind, in times of noise,/ and stress and argument.” Cai (And the Ocean Was Our Sky) paints a small, fragile-looking figure bathed in menacing red light as two huge black beasts bear down on it. As the pages turn, the shrouded figure evades the creatures and sets off through gray, spiky mountains as “Silver rains/ fall constant but not cold.” In spreads hatched with delicate lines that sway and swell, the sky is gray, the trees are bare, and the light becomes clear and silvery. A girl walks in the foreground; a white bird flies before her. The narrator voices relief (“There, I am not too big, too small for anything”) and meets, at last, a twin, “My own self who rings and waits and sings.” Dedicated to “war children everywhere,” Lanagan’s story holds out the hope that those who have experienced trauma will find peace and solitude, and that they may discover themselves again. Cai’s Gothic-tinged artwork does not hold out a vision of paradise but offers images of spare beauty. Ages 5–7. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/06/2018
Release date: 10/01/2018
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