Author: Nancy Hartry
Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard
Second Story Press
Ages: 4 – 7 years old
Snow Doves, Hartry’s compelling entry into the world of wordless picture books, “tells” the story of Sami, who has arrived in a new country, very different from his own.
Before there is language, there is communication. Disagree? Take the issue up with the parent of a newborn who knows what the child is saying before the child can utter a word. For that matter, remember the last time you flirted with somebody across the room? We communicate silently all the time; yet, very little attention is paid to how we communicate wordlessly and, let’s be frank, society is at an all-time-low for being able to discern the more subtle, social cues that emanate from people every day. Ergo, the need for wordless picture books. Wordless? Yes. Not a word is written, but a whole lot is said.
Snow Doves, Hartry’s compelling entry into the world of wordless picture books, “tells” the story of Sami, who has arrived in a new country, very different from his own. He doesn’t recognize the surroundings, is skeptical of the climate, and doesn’t speak the predominant language. What happens next, is the blossoming of a friendship between two children, with little in common other than being kids.
I write “tells,” because the narrative arc is strong and well-defined by Hartry, whose work will probably go somewhat unnoticed in light of Grimard’s beautiful, soft illustrations. And therein lies the beauty of Hartry’s work. She manages to pull-off telling a complex, intricate story, without committing a word to the page–no small feat; doing it from the background. [For how this was accomplished, see our chat, below.]
Snow Doves opens up a world of multiple readings and retellings. Every time a child sits with the book is a new adventure, as Hartry guides the “reader,” but the book allows sufficient play for imagined dialogue, character development, and empathy.
We need more books where children are asked to interpret rather than simply sit and be told. By providing a well-crafted, springboard for discussion and analysis (woven subtly into a gorgeous story about play and innocence), Snow Doves fits that bill.
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Edelweiss and the Publisher for providing an Advance Copy of this book. The views expressed herein are my own.
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