Sunday, September 2, 2018

Review: Imagine! by Raúl Colón

Paula Wisemen Books
Picture Book / Arts
48 pages
ages 4 and up

SEPTEMBER 11th, 2019!!!

A wordless picture book about a visit to the museum and the power of art and imagination.

After passing a city museum many times, a boy finally decides to go in. He passes wall after wall of artwork until he sees a painting that makes him stop and ponder. Before long the painting comes to life and an afternoon of adventure and discovery changes how he sees the world ever after.


This is a beautiful tribute to art and inspires young readers to experience, and then incorporate it into their lives.

A boy heads off to the art museum in New York with a box of chalk in his back pocket. At the museum, he gazes at the different pieces of art when one comes alive and dances with him. Soon, the figures from other paintings come to life, and with a colorful group, he heads to the city. When the adventure finally ends and they return to their paintings, the boy uses these experiences to let inspiration flow as he heads back into his daily life.

The illustrations are gorgeous and carry the entire book without the need for text or words. The illustrator presents New York as a rather brown, fairly monotone world before the boy steps into the museum and the colorful paintings bring brightness and life. The paintings are true to life existing ones, which in itself, presents a possibility for teachers/ parents to open up the world of art to young readers. When the boy heads out into New York with his new found, cheerful friends, they visit various sites and experience different activities, the city has to offer. Those who know New York will feel at home, while others learn a little more about the city. When the boy heads back out of the museum, his adventures complete, the dreary, brownish buildings are back, but the boy now uses his chalk to brighten them up, bringing color into the world with him.

The various messages in this book and aspects offer a bounty of discussion material for children. Children are opened up to the world of art, taught how to digest and incorporate it into their lives and even learn other things along the way. I'll admit, the graffiti on the building made me flinch, and while the chalk aspect definitely helps, part of me isn't sure this was the best way to approach things. The other part, the artist, finds it wonderful and wishes all dreary walls were brightened. Hence, the 4.5 stars which I'm rounding up to 5 stars.

Summed up, this is a wonderful book which would especially work well in classroom, homeschooling or other group situations. It's an effective and exciting way to introduce kids to the beauty of art and will leave them seeking inspiration of their own.

And here he is...
Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; the New York Times bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt; Susanna Reich's Jose! Born to Dance, and Jill Biden's Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

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