September 23, 2021


Sun and Shiro and the Polka-Dot Snake by Hiyoko Imai follows the first two titular characters as they interact with -- and ultimately save -- the third titular character, the polka-dot snake.

Sun Wonder lives with his family and pet dog Shiro in a small house in a small town where he spends his time growing fruits and vegetables in his garden and designing and creating one-of-a-kind kites. One Autumn day Sun and Shiro decide to go apple picking, and they encounter a strange snake who loves apples too. But the snake loves apples so much that it eats too fast, and Sun and Shiro have to intervene to help the snake wriggle his way out of its mess.

The collaged illustrations are delicate and sweet, and Imai uses an off-white background throughout to take advantage of the medium's shadows against the bright background. The book has a small trim size at 6x8.25 inches, and with 37 numbered pages full of blocks of text, it's more of an early reader storybook than a picture book. The increase in page count and the more open visual format of the book give Imai a chance to play with negative space, specifically with regard to the design and placement of the text in relation to the images: no page is every too crowded with imagery and each block of text has plenty of room to breathe.

Sun and Shiro and the Polka-Dot Snake publishes next Tuesday, September 28 from Little Gestalten!

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