It's been several days since Memorial Day weekend, a strangely-adapted schoolyear is ending, and many businesses are reopening in this eleventh week of quarantine. The need for physical distancing, masks, hand washing, and mindfulness regarding the greater good of our communities is more necessary now than ever.
As I write this, the tragic landmark of 100,000+ deaths in the US has been reported and numbers continue to rise. The good news is that I have seen, in person and in social media, the encouraging truth that MANY people understand and respect the ongoing need for individuals to act responsibly. The sad news is that there are others who put personal WANTS above the greater NEEDS of society.
That is a mistake.
It neglects the facts of science.
And it is a mistake that could prove very hard to live with, but very easy to die from.
|Page Street Kids, 2020|
Some mistakes can be fixed or forgotten rather easily. Others can be overwhelming, to the people injured and even to the one causing the harm. A WHALE OF A MISTAKE is written and illustrated by Ioana Hobai. She has illustrated other engaging picture books. This is the second of her releases in which she provides both the text and illustrations. With a cover and spreads awash in luminous and lilting images (ink, watercolor, acrylic), the narrative as an inner journey plays out on an oceanic scale. The seemingly solid-color endpapers of water/sky blue suggest subtle nuance and movement, foretelling a story with depth and drama.
The minimalist text arrives in second person voice, insuring a bond between the reader and the appealing character whose identity is also universal, blue-ish, and recognizably distressed. Their "mistake" is generic and unspecified, but the worry that follows feels intensely specific. The progression unfolds from being swallowed whole, unable to navigate the whirlwind resulting from People saying: "What a big mistake!".
As the struggles and swirls change in hue and tone and intensity, "you" regain your footing and find yourself surrounded by unexpected new skyscapes.
"There's a whole universe of mistakes out there."
Magical colors and swirls call to mind Van Gogh's STARRY NIGHT, morphing into richer pastels and horizons as you learn to move on.Hobai's work displays a masterful merging of text and illustration to pace this sweeping story through deeply recognizable stages of guilt, regret, worry, and eventual restoration to firm footing, with the encouraging resolution of becoming a stronger person in the process. There is a lovely interview with Hobai on Maria Marshall's THE PICTURE BOOK BUZZ, here.
You can find/follow this talented creator on:
|Greenwillow Books, 2016|