CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 18 . . . . April 27, 2007
Not many children are likely to be familiar with the work of early 19th century romantic poet William Wordsworth, although his poems are much anthologized for adults. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud appears to be the first in a series called “Read Me a Poem: Classic Poetry for Modern Children.” Laudable as the idea of introducing Wordsworth to youngsters might be, here an old verse and some modern illustrations are seriously mismatched.
Sami Suomalainen is a Finnish-born illustrator now living in Canada. He is probably best known for his pictures for one of Robert Munsch's early books, The Mud Puddle. He also illustrated Marisol and the Yellow Messenger, a story of emigration from the Caribbean.
With this effort, Suomalainen pushes Wordsworth into a futuristic setting: a world of robots looking unhappy in their mechanistic surroundings. Chancing on a bobbing, weaving bed of daffodils on a beach, the central character, a candy-striped robot, finds his spirits uplifted. Flowers, insects and other creatures are all depicted with smiling faces, and their aspect causes all the sad-faced robots to cast off their gloom and dance.
The pages of the book are full to bursting with colour and movement, and children would enjoy looking at these somewhat lopsided but happy pictures. However, cheerful as they are, they do not seem to go together with such formal verses as:
Ellen Heaney is a Children's Librarian at the New Westminster Public Library in New Westminster, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.