Saturday, September 26, 2009

Leon and the Place Between

Here's the perfect holiday gift for the youngest readers in your life, especially those who love to curl up on your lap as you read to/with them:

Leon and the Place Between, story by Angela McAlister, illustrations by Grahame Baker-Smith (designed by Mike Jolley and edited by Libby Hamilton), published earlier this year by Candlewick Press.

The story is elegant in its simplicity: Leon and his siblings go to a traveling magician's show...and Leon is transported by very real wizardry into the Place Between.

"With a ripple of gold braid...the curtains slowly parted..."

"Up jumped a barrel organ monkey, all made of wood and tiny hinges, He beckoned the moon to light the mechanical toys..."

McAllister's evocative words are embodied, brought to life, and made to sing by the wondrous art of Baker-Smith. Pages are die-cut to reveal mysteries, side pictures collide with sprouting flowers, birds and oddly fonted letters, colors leap off the page in gold, magenta, the deepest blue.

For a preview go here on the Candlewick site.

When you read (and frequently re-read) this book, you will ask as Leon's younger brother does at the end:

" 'But where did you go?' asked Little Mo.

Leon smiled.

'I went to the place that magic takes you.' "

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