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Archive for December 26th, 2015

float

by Sam Juliano

There are some rare instances where you find that a picture book is so impeccably crafted and meticulously negotiated that you conclude you are looking at something indefectible.  Such is the case with Float by Daniel Miyares, a work about one fleeting endeavor in a young boy’s life that appears to raise the bar in an artist’s insatiable quest for perfection.  Float is a wordless book – that no longer rare phenomenon in the publishing industry where illustrators summon their artistic skills to replace the power of words with the dynamism of images.  What is rare is the wordless picture book that is so flawlessly executed that it makes you think words would have negatively impacted the vision.  Other than the book’s title – a word that economically defines this pictorial tone poem- there isn’t even a reference to language aside from the illegible newsprint on paper material that is used to create the object that does what the title infers.  Taking the place of a descriptive writer, the illustrator must be attuned to facial expression, posture, the thrall of weather, the application of color to define a mood, abstract form to heighten an event, and the full gamut of emotions.  Wordless books follow the tenets of the silent cinema, where the experience is totally visual, without a trace of the interplay that informs some of the finest collaborations.  The illustrator is left with a  formidable task, and Miyares appears to have risen to the challenge with a book that will excite and move the youngest while perhaps tempting those older to ally their skills at creativity.  His art was created digitally.

The book’s sleek and elegant dust jacket cover highlights the mise en scene.  A boy clad in yellow rain gear is floating a paper boat in a street puddle as rain falls.  There is a striking reflection of a nearby house in the water, and the drab gray color scheme denotes the overcast, dreary day.   A partial close-up of that cherished vassal of a child’s fantasy is mounted on the inside hardcover with just enough color to allow it to arise above the non-descript, but less than what would be needed to achieve a happy resolution. (more…)

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