________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 32 . . . . April 20, 2012


Con el sol en los ojos = With the Sun in My Eyes.

Jorge Luján. Illustrated by Morteza Zahedi. Translated by Janet Glass.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2012.
32 pp., hardcover & e-book, $17.95 (hc.), $17.95 (e-book).
ISBN 978-1-55498-158-8 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55498-207-3 (e-book).

Grades 2 and up / Ages 7 and up.

Review by Meredith Cleversey.

**½ /4



Todo lo que tengo es mucho:
mi perro Oliverio,
el golpeándome en la cara

y tu rise que estalla por nada.

Todo lo que tengo es tuyo:
el escondite en la azotea,
el barrilete de dragón
y esta canción para que do se quieran.

All that I have is a lot:
my dog Oliver,
wind hitting me in the face
and your laughter that explodes for no reason.

All that I have is yours:
hide-and-seek in the roof,
the dragon kite
and this song for to love one another.

With the Sun in My Eyes is a collection of short, bilingual poems that celebrate the day-to-day life of children. These abstract pieces of poetry highlight the experiences of a boy and a girl as they go about their day. Some of the verses include simple ideas like watching eggs hatch, or seeing an abandoned doll, while others tackle slightly more complex experiences, such as imagining what the sun does in the night.

internal art      The illustrations for this collection are very interesting. Done with mixed media, the illustrations reflect the poems perfectly. They are abstract pictures which are complex and full of varying colours, designs, and spatial uses. However, at the same time, the images have a very child-like quality to them. In some ways, they seem very advanced, and in others, it seems almost that a child actually drew them. The images are a good complement to the simultaneously advanced and yet simple formula for the poems themselves, which definitely makes the artwork a vital part of this collection.

      The publisher recommends this collection for children aged 7-9. The subject matter of these poems is simple and fits with the experiences of children this age. However, younger children may find the abstract concepts of these poems too difficult to grasp. For the younger set, it might be best to read this work with someone who can help to explain the poems to those children who might not be able to understand exactly what is written. Certain stanzas, such as “I went for a walk alone / to hear silence inside me. / I returned surprised. / Silence was louder than noise”, for example, might be a little hard for some children to readily comprehend. This collection can, however, be good for introducing the concept of abstract poetry and art, in a simple and relatable way.

      In addition, because this collection is abstract and bilingual, it could be a good teaching tool for older children and even teenagers and some adults, too. The poems are simple, but they give a unique introduction to the Spanish language and to the idea of abstract art. They are meant for children, so older readers should be cautious of the fact that the collection is very short, and the poems are fairly simple for an advanced reader to comprehend. However, there is still the potential for an interesting analysis of these poems by the mature audience.

      With the Sun in My Eyes is a unique collection of poems and art which describe two children’s day in both the English and Spanish language. These poems have the potential to be interesting teaching tools for both younger and older readers, and the poems and artwork together make for a very intriguing collection. However, readers should be aware that this collection, with its combination of advanced abstract ideas and simple short refrains, is difficult to pinpoint for a specific audience and may give some potential readers problems.

Recommended with reservations.

Meredith Cleversey is a librarian who lives in Cambridge, ON. She loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.

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

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