When I saw this trailer for Chloe, Instead by Micah Player, forget about it. I had to have this book.
So when my friends Alethea and Aly held a massive and amazing story time event called Picture This!, AND Micah Player was there, well, then…duh. So what if I was a little taller than most of the participants?!
Micah hosted a table with a really fun and graphic craft. Think glue sticks, patterned papers in squares and triangles, construction paper, and Sharpies. I made this masterpiece while chatting with him about libraries and graphic design and trailers and his awesome kids:
(Yeah, I don’t know how those shapes exploded from a closed box, but just go with it.)
His two boys were the inspiration for this tale of adjusting to a new sibling. Molly likes crayons and books, but for coloring and reading. Her whirlwind of a sister Chloe on the other hand…how about for eating and ripping to shreds. Chloe is nothing like Molly expected, (or even wanted) but just maybe that’s ok.
The cover itself is a striking use of line. I love those blocky bold stripes.
And, because we all know I love a good endpaper:
More lines, diagonal this time.
Micah’s use of color is so brilliant and fresh, and where one color meets another, a strong line emerges. These choices are visually interesting, sure, but they also serve to guide your eye through the illustrations.
Sometimes these lines represent physical objects, like this bookshelf:
(I would love to read The Daydream Sunbeam by the way. Good choice, Molly.)
And sometimes line divides moments in time and space, like two very different emotions on Molly on this spread:
Can’t you tell she is growing and changing, just in one spread, with one word?
Sometimes line is just a strong graphic element on the page, like the diagonal line of the background here:
I love how the same line marks shadow from light on Molly’s face. And notice how it’s not directly through the center of the page? That opens up the space in which Chloe can dance and just be Chloe. She’s not boxed in by such a strong, dynamic line.
And line to create a balanced layout:
I especially love the flapping arms on this page. If that’s not a static line to imply motion, I’m not sure what it is.
Chloe, Instead is sharp, sassy fun. It’s well designed, both in its clever words and pictures. If you have ever had a little brother or sister, you will surely identify with Molly and hold this book dear.