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- Jose Lucio, self-published author of Heave Ho!

2.19.2013

Unspoken (2012)

Illustrated by Henry Cole

Canson charcoal paper with Staedtler Mars 4B pencils

Adobe Garamond Pro Regular

Scholastic Press

This is a startlingly beautiful work. I can't quote any of it, because, as promised by the title, all is unspoken. The narrative relies only on the artwork to carry it along. The temptation is to flip through it quickly, but there is too much texture on each page. There's hardly any white space, practically every square centimeter is filled, even the cloudless sky, let alone the plentiful wood, brick and earth.

It seemed to me this book was as much about the setting and the environment as it was with the story. The first several pages consist of the young girl's life on the farm. Watching soldiers marching by, feeding the chickens, hanging quilts. I got a real sense of the passage of time, and the entirety of this young girl's existence.

When the story comes into play, it is with subtlety and mystery.

Do you see the eye in the corn?

That eye is all that is ever seen. Unspoken, indeed. There are layers of invisibility, just as the young girl herself, is practically invisible to the soldiers and bounty hunters come to her parent's home.

"Because I made only the pictures," writes Cole, "I'm hoping you will write the words and make this story your own."


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