Growing up, my dad had a red station wagon, and every summer we kids (sibling and cousins) would pile into the back and off we would go to the beach. It was probably an hour outside the city, but it seemed to me like it was an endless drive before we saw water. Keep reading…
There are plenty of photos of my sister and I wading in knee-deep water, sloshing about. We wouldn’t venture far, since I for one have a fear of deep water. If I can’t see the bottom, I start to panic. It took years before I was comfortable in the deep end of the pool. All that money on swimming lessons and I still sink like a rock.
Wave, as illustrated by Suzy Lee, takes me back in time to one of those summer days. Without using any words, Lee is able to tell the story of a little girl’s day at the beach. Loosely rendered in charcoal and acrylics, the art is stunning in its simplicity. Stripping down to only two colours (blue and gray) and using just a couple of strokes, she was able to portrait the facial and body expressions of the little girl.
Though told only in pictures, Wave is a thoughtful and well-crafted story. By deciding to omit the text, the story is not hampered by language barriers, as her illustrations do not require translation and accommodate any level of reading skill. This has also allowed her readers to imagine their own story to suit the action in the pictures.
Lee uses the gutter, where the page meets the binding of the book, to represent the shoreline. This is a creative idea that is used to great effect, as page after page the girl is enticed to cross the shoreline and get more than her toes wet. The panoramic dimensions of the book wonderfully play up the vastness of the beach and the swaying motions of the sea. Back and forth across the pages, we follow the silent dance between the little girl and the sea.
Wave, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Illustrator Suzy Lee
Internationally acclaimed artist Suzy Lee was born in Seoul Korea. She received her BFA in painting from Seoul National University and her MA in book arts from Camberwill College of Art, London. She has won numerous awards. Waves was selected for “Best Illustrated Children’s Books 2008” by The New York Times and a gold medal for “Original Art 2008”by The Society of Illustrators. Suzy is currently living and working in Singapore.
I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.
“Your blog is fun to read. Thanks for your story!”
– Suzy Lee –
To find out more about Suzy Lee, please visit her website: www.suzyleebooks.com
Publisher Chronicle Books (April 16, 2008)