Supposing

Overview

When you’re a kid, there are lots of things you’re not supposed to do. But what if you didn’t really do any of those things, what if you just imagined them? Then it wouldn’t matter if your supposings were silly, impossible, or even a little naughty—because they’re all just in your head. Alastair Reid’s book is a monument to the liberating power of unfettered thought. Here he reunites with a frequent collaborator, the famed illustrator and designer Bob Gill, to muse on the ...

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Overview

When you’re a kid, there are lots of things you’re not supposed to do. But what if you didn’t really do any of those things, what if you just imagined them? Then it wouldn’t matter if your supposings were silly, impossible, or even a little naughty—because they’re all just in your head. Alastair Reid’s book is a monument to the liberating power of unfettered thought. Here he reunites with a frequent collaborator, the famed illustrator and designer Bob Gill, to muse on the possibilities:

Supposing I read a book about how to change into animals and said a spell and changed myself into a cat and when I climbed on the book to change myself back I found I couldn’t read. . .

Supposing I had a twin brother but we never told anyone and only went to school half the time each. . .

Supposing a very beautiful lady fell in love with me and wanted me to marry her but I just yawned and said Maybe . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Gill's third release this fall (after The Green-eyed Mouse and the Blue-eyed Mouse and The Present), he brings his brand of scribbly line art to Reid's 1960 book in which a boy contemplates the consequences of a wide-ranging and eccentric array of possible actions. In some ways the book feels like an ancestor to Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (though it's vastly different in tone); the scenarios are (often surreal) springboards for readers' imaginations. The boy delights in confounding expectations ("Supposing I collected old hair from a barber shop and sent it in parcels to people I didn't like..."), but also in asserting his power, whether it's turning down the marriage proposal of a "very beautiful lady," or appearing on TV as an expert, but burping instead of answering a question. There's an understated but fitting whimsy in Gill's artwork: "Supposing I could be any size I wanted to be..." is paired with a spread of striped rugby shirts in various sizes hanging on a rod, and when the boy imagines becoming a "wise old professor," Gill offers a loose portrait of Einstein. Ages 5–9. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
“Alastair Reid is a word magician.” –Bill Buford

"A 1960 text from Reid is paired to all-new illustrations from Gill that realize one child's beguiling hypotheses....And so it goes, supposition after childlike supposition, against scribbly, mostly black-and-white drawings with just a few strategic touches of color....As fascination with cause and effect is a classic phase of childhood, this book would seem to have a natural place in both bedrooms and classrooms..."—Kirkus Reviews

"There's an understated but fitting whimsy in Gill's artwork." —Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
This fun book of things a boy imagines he could do and the related consequences opens the mind to creativity: "Supposing I taught my dog how to read." "Supposing I got to be three hundred years old...." "Supposing I told a fussy woman on the train that I was an orphan and had no home and when I got off the train and went over to where our house was, there was nothing but trees and nobody had ever heard of me..." This original text has been given new illustrations. The pen and ink line drawings are sometimes filled in with one or two colors. The last page shows a cat sitting on a book. The boy changed himself into a cat by reading a spell in the book, but the cat can't read. Boys will enjoy reading the crazy thoughts of someone else. It may help boys to feel comfortable with and encourage their own fantasies. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
Kirkus Reviews
A 1960 text from Reid is paired to all-new illustrations from Gill that realize one child's beguiling hypotheses. "Supposing / I taught my dog how to read..." Beneath this intriguing opening, a floppy-eared dog holds a book in its mouth, waiting. "Supposing / I looked in the mirror one day and saw someone who wasn't me at all and I said, Who are you? and he said, Mr. Endicott..." Readers see the child from the rear looking into the mirror, out of which is reflected an adult man wearing a fedora. And so it goes, supposition after childlike supposition, against scribbly, mostly black-and-white drawings with just a few strategic touches of color. The sophisticated minimalism of the illustrations at their best work with the text to prompt wild flights of fancy; at worst, they are simply thought-provoking. As fascination with cause and effect is a classic phase of childhood, this book would seem to have a natural place in both bedrooms and classrooms; though the flat, mannered cartoons may be initially off-putting to kids, the concept will beguile them. (Picture book. 4 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590173695
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Series: New York Review Children's Collection Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 781,223
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Alastair Reid is a poet, translator, essayist, and scholar of Latin American literature. He joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1959 and has translated works by Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges. Among his many books for children are A Balloon for a Blunderbuss, I Keep Changing, Millionaires, Supposing, and Ounce Dice Trice (published by the New York Review Children’s Collection). In 2008 he published two career-spanning collections of work, Inside Out: Selected Poetry and Translations and Outside In: Selected Prose. He lives in New York.

Bob Gill is an illustrator and graphic designer. He has won numerous awards for his graphic design work; sold illustrations to Esquire, Architectural Forum, Fortune, Seventeen, and The Nation magazines; illustrated children’s books; and designed film titles. He lives in New York.

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