CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 1. . . .September 5, 2014
Liniers’ picturebook What There Is Before There Is Anything There is exactly what the subtitle promises: a scary story. A little boy’s parents put him to bed, switch off the light and leave. Soon silent creatures float down from the “black and infinite” hole where the ceiling used to be; then a creepy nameless blob appears and says, “I am what there is before there is anything there.” The boy seeks refuge in his parents’ bed, but the same ominous figures begin to appear.
Liniers is a very successful Argentinean illustrator. I like his use of cross-hatching for the darkness and for the scary existential horror. His muddy colour palette creates a sombre mood. His short sentences and clipped scansion also create a tense feeling of suspense. For instance, as he describes the floating figures, Liniers writes, “They don’t say anything. They just stare. At him.” All of the elements of the text work well together to create a truly scary story. As his author biography explains, the original Spanish edition of this picturebook has won prizes including the Premio ALIJA (IBBY Argentina” and the Premio CAP (Camara Argentina de Publicaciones), and “it was selected for Mexico’s national reading program.”
Lian Beveridge is an independent scholar based in Vancouver, BC. Her primary research interests are children’s literature (especially picturebooks) and queer theory.
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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.