Numerous legendary author-illustrators have likened picture books to film, as both mediums tell their stories through visible action. Some illustrators construct their stories in ways similar to film in even more creative and dramatic ways, as Raúl Colón does in his dynamic new picture book, Draw!
A young boy sits in his room, sketchbook nearby, while reading a giant book about Africa. By the next spread, we see he’s been inspired; his sketchbook is now in hand, and he’s drawing. In a series of drawings emanating from near the boy’s head, he imagines himself heading to a safari with his paints and easel in hand. We are treated to multiple spreads of the boy’s fantasy: He’s painting various safari animals, from elephants to zebras to majestic lions, and every scene pops with color and action. In the end, we’re drawn back (in more ways than one) to the boy’s room, and at the book’s close we see him sharing his drawings with his classmates.
Colón puts to good use perspective, compelling page turns and cinematic techniques. In one spread, we’re treated to two illustrations similar in many ways, yet one is suddenly closer to the reader. Another illustration is divided into panels, showing an encroaching, angry rhino. These successive pictures and dramatic cuts mimic film and make Draw! a magnetic tale.
One go-around on this safari, and you’ll want to immediately return.
Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.