Flowers & Fablesby John Gruen, Rafal Olbinski (Illustrator)
Shards of mirror turn to violets, angry snowflakes fall, a boy becomes a sweet pea and then a butterfly in Flowers and Fables, fourteen tales from John Gruen that resonate like "a sweet, sad melody." The haunting paintings by surrealist Rafal Olbinski suggest further unfoldings of the fables. Full color.
In each of 14 spreads, a species of flower figures into a brief story and illustration. The text of each fable, in small type with justified margins and exaggerated leading between the lines, aids in conveying their overall tonemysterious, dark, full of pronouncements, e.g., "Now the mimosa shall weep her golden tears in an old woman's hand." Scents have sound; a man dies of sadness before he finds the maiden of whom he has dreamed and who springs to life from his tears. In fact, a lot of folks die in the course of these moody fables. The accomplished, mesmerizing pictures recall Magritte and Dalí: a sliver of moon imprisoned in a bird cage; an eye on the back of a hand; wild roots and branches grasping and snaring. The book may be excessively poetic or just excessively indulgent, but it leaves logic too far behind for most children.
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