In this tall, 56-page picture book import, originally published in Italy two years ago, readers explore two stories that meet in the middle.
Snowflake drifts through the sky, hoping to fulfill the dream of landing in an inspiring location. He considers the possibilities: Will he land on a building in a quaint town or even on a circus? On children at a playground? On a bakery window? Readers turn the pages of large, cut-paper snowflakes to discover Snowflake’s fantasy landscapes.
Readers can then flip the book to meet a drop of ink, waiting patiently inside her bottle, as she longs for her artist to “carry her into one of his wonderful drawings.” When the wind makes its way into the artist’s studio, paintings catch flight, and Inkdrop watches as the art dances before her. Cut-paper drops of ink reveal the artist’s colorful visions, as Inkdrop imagines her joy at having left her confinement to join one of the paintings and see the world through new eyes.
The two stories offer up distinctive palettes: Snowflake’s is predominantly white and ethereal, and Inkdrop’s black ink dominates. This makes the vivid paintings readers get to see, the ones that Inkdrop longs to enter, all the more striking.
When the wind blows forcefully enough to tip the bottle of ink out the window, Inkdrop is free. She meets Snowflake and feels immense joy. In the story’s dramatic gatefold spread, which sits in the book’s center and serves as the closing to each story, Inkdrop and Snowflake delight in one another’s presence, telling stories—and their “embrace lasted forever.” It’s an intricate, finely drawn spread, one to pore over for a while.
And it’s precisely this moment that is the book’s heart, this merging of two souls—perhaps they are soul mates always meant to be one—and the beauty that results.
Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.