Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton (Simon & Schuster)
HC RRP $24.99
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Everybody wishes they could fly. In this children’s picture book, the boy in the story makes wishes and then imagines them coming true. He wishes for flavoured rain, musical steps, a bushy tail, even fangs. But these wishes can’t come true. But what if you wished for something real and you got it?
This is Ben Clanton’s fifth picture book. It’s about the magic of wishes, the hope that comes with wishing, and imagining the wish coming true. Inspired by the author/illustrator’s own imaginative thoughts, they became real wishes when he turned them into this book.
The text is not the driving force here. It’s the story the illustrations portray that is the most fascinating. Rendered in watercolour and pencil, I loved the boy’s face the best, so expectant and innocent. It looked like someone familiar, but not. The consistent use of earthy browns and soft green for the first part of the book with the wishes is magnetic. Then, when the real wish is made, colour creeps gradually onto the page.
It first appears in the trees in varying shades of green. It’s followed by brown musical notes that come from the birds behind the trees. These begin to fill the page. Then more colour is added with the appearance of flowers beneath the trees. Then the wish becomes something extraordinary with the nest of baby birds, more coloured musical notes, and lots of floral coloured bushes surrounding the tree.
Who needs words? These last wordless images left me speechless. This delightful book ideal for the 3+ years age group, comes with a stunning jacket depicting a large image of the boy, with a small image of the bird behind him.