Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
Reviewed by: Brian Wilson
By: Rylant, Cynthia
Call #: JPicture Rylan.C
This beautiful picture book celebrates the natural world and all its wonder, and brings together two incredible talents: Newbery winning author Cynthia Rylant and Caldecott honor winner, the illustrator Brendan Wenzel. Rylant’s spare, poetic and meaningful text has an inspirational bent to it, confidently asking young readers to find a connection between the animals on the page and their own lives. To say Wenzel takes the text and runs with it is an understatement. From the captivating cover to the glorious title page which gives us a panoramic view of simple life forms swimming in water, Life hooks you at the start. Page after page, spread after spread, Wenzel offers up memorable images. I especially love the illustrations that mirror or comment on one another (a dog and a cat facing each other, looking startled but also curious; a gorilla facing a polar bear as the words “And something to protect” appear on the page, reminding us that these beautiful animals are endangered). Meanwhile, his double page spreads are very cinematic, taking us up, over, and about, under the water, and into the sky. Life mesmerizes.