Things That Go Away
by Alemagna, Beatrice






A young girl shares things that go away, from sleep and small wounds to bubbles and music, in a text with tracing paper between pages to transform the images.





Beatrice Alemagna is the author and illustrator of over 30 books for children, including What is a Child? and A Lion in Paris. Her books have been translated into twelve languages, and four were nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, among many other awards. In 2017, her picture book On A Magical Do-Nothing Day was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year and was recognized with a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. She is from Bologna, Italy and lives in Paris, France.
 





Renowned author-illustrator Alemagna turns her artful ingenuity to the concept of impermanence in this wistful picture book. "In life, many things go away. They transform, they pass by." She addresses both the physical and intangible: sleep departs, small wounds vanish, "music flies away, and soap bubbles too." Every example gets a full spread, each of which is divided by a piece of tracing paper with a single, black design. When the reader turns the tracing paper from right to left, the image transforms in accordance with the text. A girl's tears appear to dry up as the drops shift seamlessly into the fur of a nearby cat. One person's parted mop of hair falls off to become her friend's drooping mustache. It's a clever gimmick that is sure to capture readers, especially young artists, though it distracts from-and, unfortunately, obscures-the wonderfully naive oil paintings. Ultimately, it concludes, "one thing never goes away." Thankfully, Alemagna isn't so heavy-handed as to name that thing; much better to show a mother and child embracing. Grades K-2. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





Renowned author-illustrator Alemagna turns her artful ingenuity to the concept of impermanence in this wistful picture book. "In life, many things go away. They transform, they pass by." She addresses both the physical and intangible: sleep departs, small wounds vanish, "music flies away, and soap bubbles too." Every example gets a full spread, each of which is divided by a piece of tracing paper with a single, black design. When the reader turns the tracing paper from right to left, the image transforms in accordance with the text. A girl's tears appear to dry up as the drops shift seamlessly into the fur of a nearby cat. One person's parted mop of hair falls off to become her friend's drooping mustache. It's a clever gimmick that is sure to capture readers, especially young artists, though it distracts from-and, unfortunately, obscures-the wonderfully naive oil paintings. Ultimately, it concludes, "one thing never goes away." Thankfully, Alemagna isn't so heavy-handed as to name that thing; much better to show a mother and child embracing. Grades K-2. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





An exploration of things that are temporary. "In life, / many things go away. / They transform, / they pass by." Each double-page spread holds a special sheet, attached in the gutter, that's halfway between transparent and translucent. This sheet overlays first the right-hand page, then the left; it features black markings (different on every spread) that shift meaning as it turns. In one fine example, to demonstrate that "sleep always departs," heavily drawn, closed eyelids move from overlaying a child's face to a stuffed animal's. Unfortunately, many spreads are less successful. All the primary illustrations pale significantly when viewed through the middle sheet while the sheet's black drawings are particularly bold; consequently, flipping the sheet leftward often fails to hide or repurpose the black marks. Musical notes seemingly meant to disappear into a plant ("Music flies away") are so dark—and the underlying illustration so paled by the flip-over sheet—that the notes don't visually integrate into the plant but hover nonsensically. Tears drop from a child's eyes, but instead of blending into a cat's fur when the sheet flips, they sit confusingly overlaid on the cat. The conceit's weak implementation leaves little room for attention to Alemagna's heavy oil paintings with faces styled like children's art, nor to the otherwise lovely catalog of things that are (or can be) fleeting: injury, bubbles, bad moods, hair placement, steam from a teacup. A good idea philosophically and artistically—but tanked by weak execution. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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