It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
These two 2018 picturebooks feature the wild, irrepressible spirit of children’s imagination – as captured by creators JiHyeon Lee (from South Korea) and Jillian Tamaki (of Japanese ethnicity, based in Canada).
Created by JiHyeon Lee
Published by Chronicle Books (2018)
ISBN: 1452171424 (ISBN13: 9781452171425). Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
The story depicts a young child who has chanced upon a key, ostensibly dropped by a psychedelic-coloured fly.
The interesting thing about this book and its blurb is that it never really mentions specifically whether the child is a boy or a girl. As we know, kids are generally more empowered these days in dressing in whichever feels most comfortable for them.
I suppose it really is irrelevant in this story, as the child can be an any-child, unlocking this magical door that leads to something more interesting than any Alice-in-Wonderland-type-of-adventure. I like how the entire book is packaged, its overall wordless design with plenty of white spaces for the eye to rest.
The odd creatures reminded me a fair bit of Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing (see my review here),and I like how the child is initiated into the wonders of this universe beyond the door by an evidently-female creature with ribbons and an adorable sailor outfit.
Looking closely at the picture, it really is a celebration of the divergent, the unexpected, the surreal, with the inclusive air of welcoming the different and the strange. Absolutely beautiful.
Written and Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Published by Groundwood Books (2018)
ISBN: 1773060201 (ISBN13: 9781773060200). Borrowed a copy from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
This book is not only a celebration of creativity and imagination, it is also a testament to mindfulness and paying close attention to colours, scents, and the passing of the seasons.
I personally found the book to be more wordy than absolutely necessary. I felt that the art was powerful enough, rendering some of the text superfluous.
Despite this, there is the uncontainable joy of simply being present, looking at the sunset, listening to the birds outside, and feeling the hands of one’s mother on one’s hair, braiding it into something beautiful.
#WomenReadWomen2019: 9 of 25: JiHyeon Lee is from South Korea
Jillian Tamaki, while of Japanese ethnicity, lives in Toronto Canada.