The prize-winning author and illustrator recalls his childhood in this wordless tour of his early imagination. As a child, he had chronic asthma, and sometimes had to spend weeks at a time confined to his bed. But in spite of his indisposition, he managed to travel all over the world in his mind.
Children can easily see how his drawings took him from his tame and relatively safe bedroom to the middle of an African safari. Carrying his sketchbook, sometimes he draws the animals, and sometimes they even draw him!
In the end, he is back in his bedroom, surrounded by his books and sketches that he made while “on” his safari.
Colón used colored pencils, grainy paper, and an etching instrument to achieve an effect somewhere between intaglio and pointillism, with the muted palette of the bedroom changing into the rich tones of Africa on the boy’s adventures. The illustrations are gorgeous.
Evaluation: Wordless books offer many opportunities to encourage creativity in readers. Children will also learn about many of the majestic animals of Africa, and perhaps be inspired to find out more about the wildlife and ecosystem.
A Paula Wiseman Book, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2014