Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wabi Sabi

It's Caldecott/Newbery time again. Here is my pick to win the Caldecott this year. Wabi Sabi, by Mark Reibstein and illustrated by Ed Young, is clever in both word and image (though for the award the committee must think only about image).

The book is verticle, which makes it difficult to hold open for a long time but is mighty clever. I suppose that is because Japanese is read verticly, isn't it? But the book does read left to right.

Wabi Sabi is the story of a cat with the titular name who goes on a journey to understand it's meaning. It's very complex, so this is definately a book for older readers.

The kicker for me, a fan of haiku, is that there are two poems on each page, one in English and one in Japanese. The translations for the later are in the back and do not adhere to the 5-7-5 format, which is an English adaptation. Both poems are actually part of the story. It's like a Sunday NYT crossword.

Ed Young uses a variety of media, mostly collage. But also photographs, drawings, etc.

All in all and absolutely beautiful book.

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