my island

Right away, when you see the cover of Stéphanie Demasse-Pottier and Seng Soun Ratanavanh’s picture book My Island, you sense that it will be whimsical, and maybe a little strange. After all, there’s a girl standing on top of an enormous seashell, and there’s a bird on top of her head! What’s happening? She’s also holding kites with stitched threads in her hands. The overall feeling is that this book will require some imagination – and it does, a bit – but it also encourages flights of fancy and dreaming as well. It’s a feast for the eyes and the daydreaming part of your soul.

my island by stéphanie demasse-pottier and seng soun ratanavanh book cover
A young girl imagines a lovely island populated by thousands of birds, where she picnics with her animals, plays games, reads, and collects flowers. You too are welcome on this island, if you know how to dream. Gorgeous, colorful illustrations accompany this gentle yet impactful story that celebrates the imagination of young readers.

Do you know how to sing, how to share, and how to dream? Then you are welcome on the unnamed island and in the house found in this book! While the story itself is minimal, it includes just enough detail to go along with gorgeous page spreads full of charming, vibrant detail. Animals, flowers, sea creatures, birds, and more sail, dance, perform, and go to parties on each page. The scale changes again and again, so readers are left to imagine why and/or how certain elements and characters are growling larger or smaller, depending on the circumstance. The constant is the little girl and her chickadee bird friend – you’ll see them adventuring together on every page spread.

Seng Soun Ratanavanh’s art is meticulous, gorgeous, and worth the read alone. Her patterned illustrations create a pencil, watercolor, and stenciled wonderland full of unlikely capers and situations, à la Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Flower garden snow globes, sea snail-back islands and paper boat sailors, picnic basket parties and more are rendered in shades of yellow, teal, and red are all at once charming, inventive, quaint, and marvelously-detailed – so much so that they require long perusal (or multiple re-reads!).

In all, My Island is an ode to the imagination, and is sure to be a hit with children and adults alike.

Recommended for: curious readers ages 4-7 who enjoy magical visuals that prompt day dreaming, and picture book aficionados of any age with a penchant for gorgeous illustration.

Fine print: I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. I did not receive any compensation for this post.

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