Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Line 135 by Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine

A little girl gets on a train at her home in the city to travel to her grandmother's house in the country. During this journey, she ponders all of the things the adults in her life tell her are impossible, yet as she looks out the window of the train, she only sees what is possible. 

Despite questioning whether the adult themes of this book (travel, finding yourself in the world) and the philosophical nature of the text would work with reading to kids, I absolutely adored the story and illustrations of Line 135. At first our little protagonist looks out the window and sees normal "daily life" sorts of things, but as she begins dreaming and longing to see the world, suddenly what she sees out her window becomes much more fantastical.

Albertine's simple (yet complex) line illustrations with the train's pop of color on each page-spread are quite striking and lend themselves to several read-throughs to take in all of the detail. I'm not usually someone who likes to re-read books, but as soon as I finished the book the first time, I knew I'd have to read it again and again to really take in how the illustrations complement the story, which reads like a free verse poem. 

I'm going to guess this book probably isn't on anyone's Caldecott shortlist, but it's on mine. Heck, I don't even think Albertine lives in the U.S. (a requirement to be considered for a Caldecott) since there are some parts of the illustrations that are in French, but I just love the way the text and the illustrations complement each other and I love that despite the minimalist manner in which the drawings are rendered, they have such a complexity to them that several read-throughs are required to really take it all in.

Line 135 by Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine
Published: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: 44
Genre: Picture Book
Audience: Children AND Adults
Disclosure: Library Copy

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