I looked at the first few pages with my brow furrowed, seeing if I could get used to the dark, undulating painted water and sky and simple blobs for concrete objects. But what I found after my initial skepticism gave way to the turning of each page… was kind of, sort of special. I just surrendered to a style that was not initially in my comfort zone of favorites and became engrossed in the passing scenery and brilliant use of light… like I was floating along in a hot air balloon just watching. Outside perspective, unobtrusive. Nothing in your face or giving the first-person intimacy technique like some illustrations employ. Detached, the images still beckoned.
I especially liked how Sanna chose his springtime color motif. Not your typical pastels, but the bold violets of a crispy sunset and the hint of color in a semi-limited palette really will resonate with those Northern Hemisphere readers who don’t really experience “spring” until something like June.
The River is something different. It’s something that evokes the word beauty… but not in a way you necessarily anticipate in a traditional way… and I like that in a book.