Monday, April 4, 2016
Like this one.
Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat accomplishes so much between the covers of a picture book.
It's daring, dynamic and filled with a multitude of meanings. The art blends several styles simultaneously. The colors are bold, brilliant and constantly surprising. It's beautiful, fun, silly, and touching all at the same time.
The constant change from gorgeous full page spreads to small graphic novel panels is arresting. The devices used to keep the reader going in the right direction are creative and well-employed. It's very fun to hand this book to other people and watch the book turn around and around as they figure out how to read it for the first time.
And the details! How I love all the tiny, little creative details hidden in nearly every page. The color contrasts. The facial expressions. The endpapers. The outfits the parents wear. What is hidden underneath the dust jacket. On and on and on. Every time I read it, I find so many more fantastic details.
Try reading this one aloud. There's so much brilliance in the text. The overarching words about the road and where life may lead you could almost be taken out and read separately from the pictures and still be poignant. And the speech bubbles are in the language that children speak and are funny on another level.
I don't want to call it a follow-up to Beekle, because I don't want to compare the two books at all. It feels like every time a successful author has a new book, it is inevitably compared to their past achievements. I thought it might be refreshing to talk about the new book without the comparisons.
Disclaimer: I've probably read and studied Beekle far more than the average bear (or human) since I was a member of the committee that awarded Beekle the Caldecott Medal, so truly, this isn't about a lack of familiarity with Beekle.
Give this book a try. Take your time.