Picture books about feelings, sadness and depression are by no means easy to effectively convey to young children their intention but Isle of You by David LaRochelle and Jaime Kim is a wonderful book about allowing your imagination to remove you from the sadder moments in life, a focus on you that does not have to ground you with reality but just allow your mind to escape.
David LaRochelle is a children’s writer from Minneapolis who has written Moo! and This Is Not A Cat, but clearly has never worked with illustrator Jaime before, who has illustrated this stunning title. Jaime Kim was born in Korea and has notably illustrated titles such as If You Were The Moon and Take Heart, My Child, and has a wonderfully romantic trademark style, which fits books that are sensitive, those that are surrounding themes such as feelings.
The intention and concept are outstanding, a simple, yet beautifully illustrated guide that will help little ones lift their own spirits…as this book steers you to sail to land where their dreams can come true. Whether it is watch dancing polar bears on roller skates, hunting for treasure or soaring on the back of an eagle, Isle of You enables toddlers to realise that with their imagination they can go anywhere when feeling sad. Combining Jaime Kim’s dream-like illustration with David’s compassionate story there is a heart-warming element to this picture book, and it is difficult not to feel warm and cosy after reading this tale.
The only drawback is simply in the execution, the concept and the story is there but there is something lacking with this book that is setting out to allow children to let go of their worries and see where their imagination can take them. Perhaps the story is a little too much on the whimsical side, as we have seen with Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go that this kind of subject can be handled a little more on realistically and it works wonders.
However, that being said it is a great book for toddlers to rest their worries, with wondrous, soothing illustration to compliment the story and effectively help with removing those worries. A stunning book, a beautiful concept and (hopefully) a sleep enabler. It would be interesting to see more from this collaboration of storytellers.
Images courtesy of Walker Books, who have published Isle of You by Jaime Kim and David LaRochelle.
Isle of You is available now, published by Walker Books.