Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, April 8, 2021

A Kindred Spirit Encounter

In can happen in mere seconds.  In those moments knowing you have found a kindred spirit; the ordinary is elevated to the unbelievable.  It is thrilling to fathom you have discovered a being so close to singing the same song as your own soul.  It changes everything.

Your viewpoint of the world is brighter regardless of how each day unfolds.  The light in me sees the light in you (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, March 16, 2021) written and illustrated by Lori Nichols follows two individuals and their discovery of each other.  It is a heartwarming appreciation for those rare and most cherished bonds.

It happened one day.
First I heard you.

When you hear something new, something enchanting, you seek it until it is found.  A little girl met a tiny red bird for the first time on this day.  She knew they were a quintessential match.

From that day forward, they were inseparable.  To them, the wind was a symphony.  To them, clouds were possibilities.  To them, a favorite tree was an aromatic delight and a delicious delicacy.

Rain days were play days.  Sharing food and flying was good for one and not yet enjoyed by the other.   Together in silence was a bit like pure bliss.

And then, without warning, the tiny red bird was not heard or seen.  Poppy was gone.  Again, everything changed.  Robin was lost without her true friend.  One night, something extraordinary happened as Robin slept.  Upon awakening, she carried a new realization with her.  Some lights are never extinguished.

The simple but profound (and sometimes humorous) sentences written in this narrative by Lori Nichols are a poetic window into something unseen but stronger than a diamond and more valuable.  Through the voice of Robin, we are privy to her found treasure, her emptiness, and ultimate wisdom.  A form of repetition of phrases supplies a welcoming cadence and brings us full circle in the best possible manner.  Here is a partial sentence.

and smelling the branches
of our favorite tree.
(Well, I like smelling them---
you usually just pecked for bugs.) 

Happiness glows on and out from the matching dust jacket and book case.  The colors here and throughout the book are light and airy.  Can you see the white outline around Robin and her tiny red bird friend, Poppy?  The pastel points of light are an excellent and delightful selection to signify their special connection.  I really like the choice to have the text color match that of Robin's overalls.  

To the left of the spine, on the back, amid points of light is a single red feather.  This is just beneath text reading:

The moment Robin and Poppy meet, they know
they will always be connected.

Below these are praises for two previous books of Lori Nichols, Maple and Maple & Willow Together.

On the opening and closing endpapers is an exquisite pattern.  The background color is a hue of the t-shirt color Robin is wearing.  White and the red of Robin's hair form sprigs of flora, a single feather, and paper airplanes.  This is in reference to the pair's shared adventures and Robin's final awareness.  On the title page, a tiny blue line spirals through the points of light.  It depicts the flight of the shown tiny red bird, Poppy.

The images 

were rendered in watercolor, colored pencil, collage, and digital techniques.

White space is used masterfully on the heavy, matte-finished paper.  The pictures are full-page, double-page and a grouping of smaller visuals.  The fine lines, delicate details, and soft greens and blues fashion a calm and encompassing joy.  Readers will watch to see if a certain squirrel and little green frog appear in each new scene.  Their playful expressions are as charming as those on Robin and Poppy.  (I love how the squirrel in one picture is peeking at the paint cans and in the next picture its footprints are one of those colors.)

One of my many favorite illustrations is a double-page picture.  It is a rainy-day setting.  On the left a large tree extends off the page and over the gutter.  Foliage springs up around it in shades of blue and green.  The same kind of foliage and some of the tree leaves appear in the upper and lower corners on the right side.  Blue lines and white drops fall heavily on the left, but on the right where Robin and Poppy are, there is a lightness around them.  Wearing a yellow raincoat and boats, Robin happily splashes in puddles.  Poppy, head held high, is leading the way through those very puddles.

Not for the first time, I wish there were a huggable classification for picture books.  This book, The light in me sees the light in you written and illustrated by Lori Nichols, is one of those books.  There are several sentences in here to be read often.  Two might bring you to tears, they are that truthful. We all will or have known unparalleled joy with another and experienced the loss of them.  In this title, we are given hope, and yes, light.  I highly recommend this book for your personal and professional collections.

To learn more about Lori Nichols and her other work, please follow the link attached to her name to access her website.  Lori Nichols has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.  At the publisher's website you can view the title page.

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