March 8, 2018

AQUARIUM

Aquarium by debut Argentinian author-illustrator Cynthia Alonso is a wordless picture book about embracing imagination and creativity and knowing when to let go.



A young girl with blue hair and a dress covered in little orange fish takes a quiet stroll one day from her house to the river's edge. As she hangs out on the dock, her mind begins to wander to thoughts of swimming with the sea creatures beneath her and dreaming of making friends. Suddenly, though, a little red fish leaps onto the dock and the girl rushes to save him by putting him in a jar and taking him home. But is friendship a sea these two can navigate together or will someone have to let go?


The illustrations in this book were created from pen and pencil, and Alonso keeps the palette contained with muted colors (mostly blue) that enhance the darker oranges and reds, like the fish. The brilliance with which some of the moments overlap in Alonso's spreads is stunning: on the right we see the girl's face, eyes closed, thinking about what lies beneath her, but on the left her blue hair turns into a river of dreams. It gives readers the sense that the girl is flying by the seat of her pants, going wherever her adventures lead her without recognizing any concrete boundaries. Her ideas flow like the river she watches so diligently.


Aquarium publishes from Chronicle Books April 3, 2018.


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