01 June 2008
Wabi Sabi, by Mark Reibstein, illus. by Ed. Young (due for release October 08.)
This evening I read a very clever, very ambitious picture book called Wabi Sabi. It tells the story of a cat named, well, Wabi Sabi. It also attempts to explain the concept of Wabi Sabi for a young, Western audience. I think it succeeded magnificently, and is an excellent example of how the picture book format can do so much more than simply teach readers the alphabet, or numbers, or opposites. The book reads from top to bottom, rather than left to right, so it is fair to say that this book turns the picture book on its head--literally! The effect is like reading a scroll--an ancient Japanese scroll with rich, spiritual illustrations. Illustrator Ed Young is channeling Steve Jenkins with cut paper collage that seems to stand off the page. This is a picture book for older readers, and I always think the world needs more of those! I hope Wabi Sabi finds an audience.
(While searching for a cover image of the book to post with this entry, I found this, which has been posted by the editor of the book.)