Even though the past two winters in Texas have been really mild (and not unbearable for me), I am still dreaming of summer. Stella is four and still figuring out what is weather and seasonally appropriate, so she occasionally still asks to go swimming. A girl can dream.
While it’s fun to read books about certain seasons while enjoying that particular season, I also like doing the opposite. Isn’t the reason we love books because they help us escape? In the suffocating heat of Texas summer, a book about ice or snow is a welcome reprieve, and Pool was just what I needed to help me imagine the blissful weightlessness of moving in warm water while grumpily avoiding cold winter air.
I picked up Pool by JiHyeon Lee a couple weeks ago. I was drawn to the simple, colored pencil illustrations. In JiHyeon’s own words:
Colored pencils and lead pencils are my favorite materials because they are familiar and their expression of lines is more free than anything else. Pencils of many different colors really excite me. And I like the different thicknesses of lines expressed on paper and the feeling of drawing with them. ‘Pool’ was a project that allowed me to use a variety of lines, from thick lines to thin and detailed lines. I was able to draw lines layer upon layer, until together they formed a complete surface. I used lines to my heart’s content.
Warning: Pool is a picture book without words, which is something I used to put back on the shelf. I think I was afraid. Then I remembered that I have a sparkling imagination, and want to be known as a fine storyteller, so pictures books without words give me the opportunity to practice for a non-judgmental audience. Naturally, nowadays I’m a big fan. it’s great to stretch your vocabulary and make up your own stories. I think it’s especially good practice for us as stuffy adults. The pictures in this book speak for themselves, anyway. The storyline is dreamy and playful and really very elegant.
I loved finding this interview with JiHeyon Lee from Picturebook Makers, which features a variety of storybook writers and illustrators from around the world. I hope you all enjoy, as much as I did, reading about her creative process in “writing” her lovely first book.
The blurb for Pool reads accurately:
What happens when two shy children meet at a very crowded pool? Dive in to find out! Deceptively simple, this masterful book tells a story of quiet moments and surprising encounters, and reminds us that friendship and imagination have no bounds.
So find it at your local library or buy it. You will get along swimmingly with this book if you allow your imagination to float away on every page.