Infinity: The Magical Cycles of the Universe

Schiffer. Oct. 2022. 48p. tr. from Catalan by S. Kathryn Jiménez Boyd . Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780764365119.
Gr 2-5–Evocative and inspiring artwork framed with uneven text leaves this ode to infinity less than satisfying. Each chapter focuses on one of almost a dozen cycles. Each cycle receives the same treatment. Some of the poems feel forced and are difficult to understand. The cycles’ order has no clear logic. Water is followed by butterflies, followed by storks, then seasons, then migrating birds, just to name a few. This gives the book a disjointed quality. The page after a circular drawing has a short piece by the author, which is followed by a quote. The quotes come from a varied group of notable people, including but not limited to, Jacques Cousteau, Frida Kahlo, Ray Bradbury, Jules Verne, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein. All are male, save for Kahlo. Many of the quotes are complex, dark, and obscure. They will require discussion for young readers to glean exactly why they are included. The illustrations are beautiful. The use of color and patterns sweep the book along past the mediocre text. The back of the book says that it is about the magic of the cycles of the universe and the journey through infinity, and the illustrations accomplish much of this mission. The words are the stumbling block.
VERDICT This illustrated look at the beauty of cycles and infinity is too muddled for most young readers. Better to try Suzanne Slade’s The Universe and You or the excellent anthology Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson.

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