Aquarium by Cynthia Alonso | SLJ Review

PreS-Gr 2 –This transportive wordless picture book debut from Argentinean author/illustrator Alonso taps into childhood imagination in a journey of discovery, experimentation, and letting go.

redstarALONSO, Cynthia. Aquarium. illus. by Cynthia Alonso. 40p. Chronicle. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452168753.

PreS-Gr 2 –This transportive wordless picture book debut from Argentinean author/illustrator Alonso taps into childhood imagination in a journey of discovery, experimentation, and letting go. A young girl visiting the nearby river is enchanted by an orange fish. With dreams of getting to be immersed in the world of fishes, she captures the fish and takes it home. There, using various jugs, glasses, bowls, and a small soaking pool, she builds an elaborate aquarium throughout her house. Finally she gets into her pool with the fish, only to realize that this is not a world that will work for the fish, and she makes the tough decision to return it to the river. Alonso’s visual storytelling captures the desire of being in the natural world and how humans strive to bring it with us. Using digital, pencil, pen and a mixture of bold and pastel colors, she immerses readers into this child’s world to share in her moments of contentment, joy, and worry. Alonso uses every aspect of the book to great effect. The book size, format, and similar use of line and space is reminiscent of author/illustrator Suzy Lee, and both excel at capturing universal child experiences and imaginations. VERDICT A captivating debut that children of all ages will want to soak in multiple times. A must-purchase for libraries; Alonso will be an artist to watch.–Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR

This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2018 issue.

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