Picture books are often viewed as basic literature and only for the kids; however, upon closer examination, one can find beautiful works of art that could rival the expense and effort of visiting an art museum. The prose is full of wit and wisdom that could last through the ages. Two new picture books recently garnered my attention in such a way. One has such unique artwork, “If You Find a Leaf” by Aimee Sicuro, and the other, “The Boy Who Loved Maps” by Kari Allen, has endearing prose. Both have boosted my imagination and made me want to do more outside this autumn season.
In Sicuro’s amazing work, a young child collects leaves during the fall season. With each type of leaf gathered, the child imagines an epic journey. Is a leaf a sail for a boat, a hat, a superhero? The book is a mixed media style of watercolor and life photography to create the adventures imagined by the child. In one scene the child imagines the leaves as the wheel of a bicycle. Sicuro is able to convey movement in the story without one having to read the words. This is Sicuro’s authorial debut and I cannot wait to see more works of artistry like “If You Find a Leaf.”
Kari Allen’s work speaks to me in a different way. Allen’s prose hooked me on this story. In “The Boy Who Loved Maps” there is a young boy called “the Mapmaker” who creates the most imaginative maps. Seeing his skill, a young girl approaches him to commission a map. Here Allen uses phrases such as “toes-in-the-sand, wrapped-in-a-towel-warm,” and “smells like my birthday and the first day of school and a Tuesday all at once,” to describe that perfect place. With such sensory details it is a story both on and off the page. I also enjoyed the juxtaposition between the practical mapmaker as he struggles to make a map for the dreamer’s perfect spot. All in all, the story is cute and endearing and is a great start to a map making adventure of your own.
Both of these new works encourage exploration and imagination, something I feel the autumn season amplifies for both adults and children. They are great works to start or end any adventure. I hope you get a chance to pick these up from the Lincoln County Library System and share them with your friends and family. I also hope that these books will be a gateway for you to “fall” in love with reading through picture books.