CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 4 . . . . October 15, 1999
It was many and many a year ago,Edgar Allan Poe's poem has been printed a few lines per page below a small miniature on the left side, facing a full page watercolour painting. Each of the miniatures highlights a portion or extends the boundaries of the large illustration. Tibo's choice of the Gaspe Peninsula is the perfect setting for this seaside poem - the fishing village, the soaring gulls, the looming cliffs. Through muted colours and subtle textures, Tibo has captured the haunting mood of the poem. Changing emotions from delight to horror to despair are clearly communicated through simple facial features and expressive body language. When the first edition of Annabel Lee illustrated by Tibo was published in 1988, it was named to the American Bookseller's "Pick of the List" and was a finalist for the Boston Globe Literary Press Competition. The book was redesigned for this edition to "fully realize the beauty of Tibo's exquisite painting". (Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain an early edition to compare with this one.) The artwork was accepted into the Illustrators Exhibit in Bologna, Italy. It is definitely the artwork that shines in this publication. While it could be enjoyed by very young readers, the language of the poem limits the audience. For example:
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
Also although there is a strong message of great caring in this classic poem, there is also a disturbing emphasis on beauty and mindlessness in Annabel Lee.
Recommended with reservations.
Joan Simpson is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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