by Colon, Raul

Based on his own childhood, an award-winning artist presents a wordless book about the limitless nature of creativity through the story of a boy named Leonardo, who begins to imagine, then draw, a world crafted through the sheer power of his imagination.

Raúl Colón is the award-winning illustrator of many picture books, including Draw! an ALA Notable Book and recipient of the International Latino Book Award; Imagine! an ALA Notable Book, a New York Public Library Best Book for Kids, and a Bookpage Best Book; Susanna Reich&;s José! Born to Dance; Angela&;s Christmas by Frank McCourt; and Jill Biden&;s Don&;t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

A boy in bed, asthma inhaler within reach, sketchbook at his side, looking at a book about Africa, is not confined by the walls of his room. As he begins to draw, he takes a journey. The palette changes from subdued pen-and-ink with wash in the bedroom to vibrant hues textured with scratched-in lines that seem to pulse, capturing the landscape and animals of Africa. On this wordless art safari, based on Colón's own childhood imaginings, first up is the elephant. This fellow is so pleased with the boy's portrait of him that he then accompanies the boy on his "hunt." They spot a zeal of zebras (one watches as the boy creates) and a pride of lions. A charging rhinoceros is calmed when shown a sketch of himself-made just in the nick of time! Youngsters will pore over each spread in wonder, soaking up the details. Upon his "return," the traveling artist shares his pictures with his classmates. A true celebration of where our imaginations can take us. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

A wordless picture book celebrates the power of art and imagination. A little boy reads about Africa and then creates his own adventures with his pencils and paints. Wordless books require readers to slow down and read the pictures, and careful children will see beyond the main storyline by looking at the whole illustration. Why is the boy in bed and not outside? The inhaler and bottle of medicine on the side table are hints. But binoculars and an umbrella on the other side of the table tell them that he is not always bedridden. As he draws, he falls deeply into the rich world of his imaginary Africa. First he draws an elephant, and then he rides away on it. He paints zebras, has a sandwich for lunch, records a giraffe stampede and shares one of his many other sandwiches with the gorillas. After a hair-raising encounter with an aggressive rhino, the little artist shares his pencils and food with other primates, who return the favor and sketch him. Colón's signature scrat ched-watercolor technique adds richness and emotion to this warm story, but it's the framing scenes at beginning and end that really sparkle here. Simple line-and-color washes put the young man at the center of the story and help readers identify with him. Young artists, reach for your sketchbooks. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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