Archive for December 16th, 2014


by Sam Juliano

One can almost picture the author of Bad Bye, Good Bye, the renowned Deborah Underwood, sitting down at a writer and illustrator’s brainstorming session with artist Jonathan Bean trying to get visual transcription from the sparest expression of prose imaginable.  Yet the cards are stacked when you have Underwood setting the rules, as she is rightly known in the trade as just about the most effective minimalist – one who says everything with just a few words.  With barely over fifty-five words, the author has projected a depth of emotion more palpable than many Newbery level books that run hundreds of pages.  Word economy in any form is the most difficult of obstacles to overcome, as it requires a concise and narrowing approach that for all intents and purposes in this book must define a psychological state of mind, and the parade of images that describe a significant life event.  The depth of emotion to be found in Bad Bye, Good Bye is so extraordinarily realized, that even some mock Newbery groups have counted it among the best of the year.  Fifty-seven words that color a lifetime event -one of upheaval, relocation and adaptation achieve a kind of literary perfection -a rarity by any standards, and allow her artist colleague to flesh out these acute applications and bring in a personal measure of interpretation. (more…)

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