________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 15. . . .December 11, 2015

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Junction.

Nathan Jurevicius.
Toronto, ON: Koyama Press, 2015.
52 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-927668-21-4.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Christina Quintiliani.

*** /4

   

 
 

After the highly successful release of Scarygirl in 2010, Nathan Jurevicius returns with his latest literary project entitled Junction. Much like Scarygirl, Junction invites its readers on a compelling visual journey into a mystical world of fantasy where the peculiar takes center stage and aesthetic practices are creatively redefined. For fans of Jureviciusí bizarre yet refreshingly innovative approaches to storytelling, Junction is sure to please as it remains true to the distinctive illustrative style that has come to be commonly associated with Jureviciusí unconventional artistic approaches which have propelled his work beyond the book and into film and video game formats on an international scale.

     In the mythical land of Face Changers, where everything is as far from the ordinary as one could possibly imagine, readers should readily be prepared to expect the unexpected with each turn of the page. Junction presents the tale of a young member of the Face Changers who embarks on an adventurous journey to the very top of East Mountain where the insertion of a magical token made from rare clay unleashes winds of transformative change across the land. As the young narrator tells his fascinating account, readers are introduced to an odd, yet visually delightful, assortment of landscapes, most of which contain hidden facial features among the mysterious sceneries.

The tokenís form is made from an ancient metal seal carefully passed down from generations of Face Changers. It cools quickly after itís baked and ready for the journey.

     Jureviciusí vibrant use of colour throughout the story is unquestionably a highlight of the book as it truly brings the mystical land of the Face Changers to life. His illustrations are beautifully presented using a wide variety of techniques, including a mix of full page and double page spreads, brief wordless sequences, and smaller framed insets that provide readers with an intimate glimpse into the wondrous experiences of the narrator. The text is skilfully positioned on each page in a manner which serves to complement rather than distract from the intriguing visual content. Due to the complexity and abstract nature of the plot, younger audiences will most likely require multiple reads in order to allow for a thorough understanding of the storyline.

     Adult assistance may be required for most children to coherently follow the textual references of the narrator as the intoxicating and intricate presence of the illustrations could prove distracting upon initial interaction with the content. For educators, Junction would serve as a valuable investment as it can be used to inspire lessons in visual arts and creative story writing for a wide variety of age and grade levels.

     Aficionados of the artistic work of graphic novelist and illustrator Shaun Tan, whose eccentric work is well renowned for depictions of unusual creatures and unearthly scenery in wordless picture books such as The Arrival, will greatly appreciate the attention to detail and imaginative originality in Junction which leaves readers with a newfound appreciation of the combined power of image and imagination.

Recommended.

Christina Quintiliani is an Ontario Certified Teacher and Ph.D. Candidate researching childrenís literature at the Faculty of Education, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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