________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 35. . . .May 14, 2010

cover

So Close.

Natalia Colombo.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2010.
24 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-1-77049-207-3.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Gregory Bryan.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Mr. Rabbit is also going to work, like he does every day. They always walk past each other.

 

So Close is a simple story about a duck and a rabbit who pass one another every day, yet never take the time to say hello and to be pleasant. Despite the minimal text, there is an important message contained within the book that is of value to readers young and old.

internal art     Natalia Colombo manages to say a lot with her brief text. The stylized artwork matches the text, conveying a lot of information in seemingly simple illustrations. The heavily textured, thick brush strokes add a sense of swirling movement which brings to mind the way that we often rush through our lives and do not take the time to extend a friendly greeting to the people that we pass.

      The background to some of the illustrations contains thick horizontal lines, perhaps suggesting the bars of cages that restrict the characters, holding them inside, just the same as some of our inhibitions or self-centredness sometimes restricts us. The details in the illustrations also suggest the passing of seasons, indicating that the barrier that exists between Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Duck continues for a long time.

      The title of the book reflects the physical proximity of the two charactersóthey pass one another repeatedly. The two target-style letter O's in the title also suggest missing the targetóbeing oh, so close to a bull's-eye, as it were. It would not take very much movement one way or the other and the two could become the best of friends.

      So Close was originally published in Spanish in 2008 under the title of Cerca. Parents and teachers of young children will find value in this charmingly simple little book. It contains a worthwhile lesson for life.

Recommended.

Gregory Bryan is a professor of children's literature and literacy education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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