On My Island

On My Island

by Marie-Louise Gay
     
 

The narrator of this story thinks that there’s nothing to do on his little round island, which he shares with a wolf, two cats, three ants, and a bat. But all around him, fantastic events are taking place — it’s just that the boy and his friends are always looking in the wrong direction. Marie-Louise Gay’s signature style brings delight and

Overview


The narrator of this story thinks that there’s nothing to do on his little round island, which he shares with a wolf, two cats, three ants, and a bat. But all around him, fantastic events are taking place — it’s just that the boy and his friends are always looking in the wrong direction. Marie-Louise Gay’s signature style brings delight and whimsy to every page. “A masterpiece.... Gay’s [picture books] are completely invigorating and accessible to their young audience, providing a rich literary experience that nourishes both intellect and emotion.” — Toronto Star

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Originally published in France, this minimal tale centers on a boy who announces, "I live alone on my island," a small semi-sphere in the middle of the sea, which he goes on to say he actually shares with a wolf, two cats, three ants and a bat. The illustrations belie the text and convey the irony that, while the child and his menagerie loll about entirely bored, they are oblivious to the bizarre happenings around them. The illustrations do not make clear what separates the boy from the goings-on; a sea serpent encircles the island, cowboys ride on the backs of dolphins and elephants parachute into the sea, as a volcano erupts in the distance. Creatively textured, Gay's offbeat, collage-like art displays some comical images and the variable type sizes take on inventive configurations. Yet the goings-on here may well puzzle rather than entertain youngsters. Although they are meant to scoff at the narrator's lament that "nothing, absolutely nothing ever happens on my island" (revealed on a final spread to be the boy's brain), children are apt to identify with the islander; it's the parents who may appreciate the irony. Ages 3-9. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Our young narrator lives alone on his island with "a wolf, two cats, three ants, and a swo-o-o-ooping bat," where he says nothing ever happens. But the sketchy, suggestive color illustrations with bits of paper collage tell us a different story. Zany is the word for what floats or flies by that island. All manner of timepieces fill the sea one day; a volcano explodes on another. A large sand castle built by the ants every day is washed away. As winter follows summer, the island itself seems to be awash, but our hero remains unperturbed in his strange world, in this challenge to the reader's imagination. 2000 (orig. 1999), A Groundwood Book/Douglas & McIntyre, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-As a young boy and his animal companions drift in a vast sea upon a ridiculously small mound of an island, he laments the lack of anything interesting going on. And yet all around him, fantastic illustrations belie that feeling: clocks bob in the calm waves; kite strings rise from the ocean depths, filling the sky with colorful kites; and a train chugs out from underwater and journeys across the seemingly solid surface. The font and page layout contribute to the action; when a gale kicks up, the text is huge, as though the narrator is shouting over a stiff wind. Flower petals, newspaper bits, and fabrics are pressed into the cartoon illustrations, adding a tangible quality to the surreal. It may be parents who relish the irony of the story, but children will pore over the pictures and imagine islands of their own.-Holly Belli, Bergen County Cooperative Library System, West Caldwell, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888993960
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
03/28/2001
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.32(w) x 9.29(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
3 - 9 Years

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