Author: Faye Hanson
Age Group: 3+
Synopsis: A little boy is surprised when his art teacher encourages him to use the self expression that everyone else tells him to forget.
The Low Down:
This was another book that made me gasp in delight. The story is uplifting and sweet (ok, it made me tear up a bit) but it’s truly the pictures that take center stage in this delightful expedition into the imaginative mind of a child.
The story follows a little boy who has an active imagination, referred to in the story as wonder. He’s told constantly by authority figures in his life to keep his head out of the clouds and focus on reality. I liked how Hanson didn’t include his parents in the repertoire of these characters. There are enough roles which paint parents in a bad light. While in The Wonder the boy’s mother makes a startlingly brief appearance, she’s helping her son button his jacket which leads me to believe she’s caring and supportive. It’s his art teacher that really is the hero of this short tale though. She encourages the boy to express the strikingly brilliant and colorful imaginings that have been suppressed by previous adults.
The first eight and a half pages are graced with soft but dreary illustrations using only greys and browns. Small bits of vibrant imaginings bring to life how our curiosity can take on a life of its own but it’s relatively small and quickly crushed by those around the boy. It’s this colorless and drab sense of complacency that Hanson lulls us into which cause the following pages to be as magical as they are. The detailed and vibrant colors fairly leap off the page, capture your imagination by the hand, and take it for a whirlwind adventure. It’s not as though these pages wouldn’t be spectacular by themselves, they are. I could spend the better part of an hour just studying the fine elements that present themselves with each design. It’s just that they are so much more so after the monotonous march through the first part of the story.
Bug was interested in the colorful illustrations but showed little interest in the early pages of the book. I wasn’t too surprised. This was another picture book that I picked up for me. He’s much too young to understand the story line and I’m fairly certain it’s his avid interest in colors that drew him into the later pictures rather than his fine attention to detail. Either way, a copy library book is going to be finding it’s way into our library soon.
- Don’t flip through ahead of time. It’s so much more satisfying to turn that one page and be blown away.
I need more!
Faye Hanson has a new book out this year called: Midnight at the Zoo. If you like The Wonder than you’ll love this. She has a few other books that she’s illustrated, as well as some fantastic looking interactive books about fairies and Cinderella. More available at: http://fayehanson.blogspot.co.uk/