When I do a picture book review post I try and put the same theme together. Does not always work of course, but this time, I am putting together two books that gave feels. Or will give feels to the reader. Both books have a message, are soft but strong and know how to tug at the ol’ emotions. In many ways, we have seen these messages to distractions. It is their illustrations that give them fresh tones.
The Wishing Balloons is a thoughtful and emotional story of friendship and caring. Jonathan D. Voss has created a work of art with text and the illustration. The painting format of the illustrations give this book a dreamy feeling which fits the slow, but strong, text. The colors are gooey, melting, but held together. The colors are sharp, but not forceful. Details are not overly crowded, but things are happening. Nothing in the story itself or the artwork is rushed, the same way Dot learns the message of the book. That message is about making wishes come true, true friendship and listening. This is a book that is not for everyone, but everyone could enjoy something about it. For at least ages 4 and up, but more likely for the 5 to 7-8 crowd.
Where Butterflies Fill the Sky: A Story of Immigration, Family, and Finding Home is both abstract and a solid story. The abstractness comes from the fact you are never really sure where our author Zahra Marwan is coming from (literally). Where was her home that she must leave to come to the States? Yet, that is not the point, which is Marwan wants you to feel the emotions of her homeland, the feelings of leaving loved ones behind and that journey one takes. There is much going on the pages as we learn about the culture, hopes and dreams of our characters. The artwork is simple, but not simplistic. The colors are not overly bold but not faded either. Minimal details set the stage perfectly. And finally, the afterwards gives information that even adults might not be aware of. This book is one that can be adapted to most ages.
I am excited to find the right audience for them, perhaps you are it?