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The Sound of Colors: A Journey of the Imagination
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The Sound of Colors: A Journey of the Imagination

by Jimmy Liao

A young woman losing her vision rides the subway with her dog in search of emotional healing.


A young woman losing her vision rides the subway with her dog in search of emotional healing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The work of Liao, a beloved Taiwanese cartoonist, offers a meditation on blindness that will stay with readers long after they have closed the paper-over-board book. As the narrator, who has lost her sight, threads her way through a city's crowded subways, she considers her circumstances. Sometimes, she worries: "I don't remember what/ this station looks like./ What will be around me/ when I step outside?" But Liao always keeps her safe (and eagle-eye readers will note a scruffy pup that appears on most spreads, as if looking out for her). With tenderness, the artist paints the new world she inhabits, a multilayered mix of what she senses taking place around her, what she remembers of the world when she could see, and her imagination. Exuberant spreads show subway platforms inhabited by elephants in bathing suits, and station stops surrounded by the sea ("I dream that I know/ the language of dolphins") or suspended in the sky. "In my mind I still/ watch the clouds change shape," the girl says. She also offers sage advice, as when she tries to make her way through a maze of streets, which Liao represents as a topiary labyrinth with high, leafy walls. On the next page, a clearly defined hole in the hedge (precisely her size) shows how she's overcome this obstacle: "If you look hard enough,/ there's always a way out." This quietly determined heroine sets a powerful example. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-A young girl's eyesight began "slipping away" a year ago. With her white cane in hand, she ventures on a subway trip using her imagination to take herself and readers on a journey. "Waiting for the train, I start to wonder if all the subway tracks in the world join together. Then where would I go?" She reveals what she sees in her mind's eye as she explores and discovers the world around her. She watches clouds change shape while resting on the back of a whale. She dreams of dolphins and learning their language and the sea's secrets. Poetic, lyrical language is used in this translation from Chinese. The girl is strong and admirable, and while readers empathize with her disability, they will rejoice in her independence and imagination, considering what is real and what is possible. Liao's watercolor illustrations invite readers to take time, slow down, and pore over the details. Children might imagine what it would be like to be sightless, but the story will inspire them to use their own senses with more clarity as they look at their own surroundings, even the most familiar ones.-Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A girl addresses the reader calmly: "A year ago I began to notice that my sight was slipping away." But today she walks out to the subway under a bright yellow umbrella, wearing large round sunglasses. "There are some things I need to find." When she goes down the subway stairs, a humongous rabbit, like an anime creature, peers from behind the latticework. She gets off at a station, climbing up the long stairs "as slowly as an elephant." Readers see a procession of the beasts in brightly patterned shirts climbing before her. At another station she wonders, if she steps out, will she be in the ocean with the dolphins? And if she steps off into the air, would the air hold her, as it teaches the birds to fly? The illustrations are really wonderful, full of imagination and glow, turning what this blind child sees in her mind's eye into visions. Left unfinished, her journey offers a hint of what it must mean to cope with the darkness. (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.37(w) x 10.12(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
1 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Jimmy Liao was born in Taipei, Taiwan and received a degree in design from the Chinese Culture University. He is the author and illustrator of over fifteen hugely popular books that have been translated into English, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, and Thai.

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