April 28, 2022


Whirl by Deborah Kerbel and Josée Bisaillon wordlessly follows a maple seed, commonly known as a whirligig, as it moves throughout the city.

A whirligig gets blown off a tree, twirling and whirling by families gardening together, kids playing in the park, and birds creating their nests, making its way around the surrounding nature. Eventually it comes to rest in a forest where it is finally able to grow roots and become a maple tree with its own little whirligigs to send off into the world. There is some backmatter about maple seeds and their life cycles that definitely encourages a second viewing/reading of the book.

As mentioned, the book is wordless and this leaves lots of room for Bisaillon to explore different ways of conveying the visual narrative. She gets to use all combinations of paneled illustrations, zooming in on curious faces and creatures and zooming out on landscapes and families. No point of view is left unexplored. The colorful pastel-colored illustrations are created from a mix of collage, drawing, and digital montage, allowing for Bisaillon to expertly play with light and white space, not to mention the definition of each panel's border within the larger white spread.

Whirl published from Owlkids earlier this month! You can also read an interview I did a few years back with Josée about her illustration process here!

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