Archive for December 1st, 2015


by Sam Juliano

Muon Van’s In a Village by the Sea is in the simplest terms a nursery rhyme that comes full circle.  It commences with a fairy tale salutation: In a fishing village by the sea there is a small house, with a striking color spread featuring a Vietnamese fisherman rowing around the mountainous island where this simple abode is situated on a lofty perch overlooking sea level greenery and the water.  The final stanza of the rhyme – and in that house is a family waiting for him to come home featuring a seascape after sunset intimates that said fisherman has completed his day of work and is preparing to return home.  Objects and living things are all part of this interconnected tale whose minimalism gives opportunity for the book’s remarkable illustrator, April Chu to produce some of the loveliest art in any book this year, whether the target audience is children or adults.  Chu paints loving tapestries in the sublime tradition of intricate Japanese woodblocks, providing readers of all ages with detailed art, the kind that invites lengthy inspection and ravishing appreciation.  The visual magnificence begins on the dedication page, where Chu pays homage to Daniel San Souci, a beloved and gifted artist of a bevy of exceptional books.  The fisherman prepares for his day and the loosening of the rope that keeps his boat ashore, followed by a faithful dog.  There is a transparent texture to the mirror image of the boat with muted browns, reds and greens, while a striking perspective features an endless eye line of the sea and the sharp mountainous terrain of his island home.


Read Full Post »