This book is the author’s debut picture book, and as a poet and creative writing teacher he found a perfect venue for these words. And here’s a great look at the illustrator’s work over at This Picture Book Life. (If you haven’t seen Brief Thief, RUN to the library. Now.)
Then there’s Enchanted Lion. Smart, beautiful, well-crafted books. This small Brooklyn publisher is fresh off a huge and deserved recognition in Bologna.
So. Let’s take a look.
Layers of letters and piles of words make up some of the best endpapers I’ve seen this year.
Before I flip another page, I’m keenly aware of this texture. What an exceptional way to visualize the poetry of E.E. Cummings. It makes perfect sense. A jumble of words and sounds and feelings are the foundation for E.E.’s work.
Words as art themselves.
Here’s a simple sentence, spare but lovely, stating facts and straightening out his family tree. Understated, but lively is for sure in that ensemble. Can you see rambunctious Uncle George there, turning a cartwheel or just plain standing on his hands?
The handwritten labels, the cattywampus text layout, the warm texture. All so inviting.
A happy home for spilling words.
A poet, catching words like a bunny through a hoop.
An author, echoing exactly what young E.E. loved.
Estlin looked around
as if his eyes were on tiptoes
and when his heart jumped,
he said another poem.
An illustrator, wrapping it all up in carefully crafted texture that smacks a bit of haphazard beauty.
It’s pretty. It’s intentional. It’s rich and wonder and a treat to take in.
A remarkable slew of back matter includes a timeline, additional poetry, a fascinating author’s note, and another really great elephant illustration.
Lots to see and learn and celebrate here.
I received a copy from the publisher, but opinions are my own.