One Giant Leap

Owlkids. Feb. 2024. 48p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771475990.
PreS-K–A visually adventurous, wordless picture book from reliably creative Lam, demonstrating the immersive nature of a robust imagination. Light brown fingers lift the zipper of an orange suit; small hands yank on stubborn boots and gloves; brown eyes look out from beneath a snuggly hat. An elevator descends to ground level and out steps a confident young astronaut. Romping across rugged terrain, the child explores expansive surroundings and follows a set of mysterious tracks leading to a gaggle of odd, adorably patterned extraterrestrial creatures. Pictographs drawn in the dirt communicate that Earth is home and the astronaut is searching for a lost rocket ship. Climbing a tall, colorfully speckled creature, the child scans the horizon for signs of the ship. The hapless young astronaut slides down the giant creature’s back and lands face-to-face with a trio of frightful creatures. Attempting a quick getaway, the weightless child flails and tumbles. Stopping to rest, everything around the child suddenly stills and fades to black. Lam leads readers on a wordless adventure through extraordinary paper collage illustrations contained within various sized frames. Reflections in the young astronaut’s helmet skillfully add dimension, sharing the child’s point of view and contextualizing events out of frame. A curveball ending illustrates how imagination employs the elements of color, shape, and texture to transport oneself beyond the present.
VERDICT Whether shared with preliterate children or in units on imaginative play, this ingenious title will have readers flipping back to the beginning of the story to repeat the adventure with an alternative perspective.

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