Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bird Lake Moon

Author: Kevin Henkes
Reading Level: 4th, 5th, 6th

Pages: 179
Publisher: Greenwillow
Edition: Hardcover, 2008

Bird Lake MoonHenkes is such a craftsman. I can appreciate all the skills and thoughts and wonderful passages that he puts into this and many other titles: all of them high quality works! But my realization today is that I don't particularly love the Impressionistic artworks. I have seen and "understood" the "Water Lilies" of Manet, for example -- hey, I even visited and was thrilled by Monet's garden at Giverny. And I understand how impressive the techniques are to combine Just Right those small patches of colors to capture light and mood and impressions. But, when you stand back and take a look at a painting of a bridge or a pond of water lilies -- they are a bridge and a pond of water lilies: it does not excite me. Bird Lake Moon is sparkling at many points, mysterious as well, and a young coming-of-age story done poetically. Many "patches" of beautiful language and revelation are combined just right to capture this significant summer in two little boys' lives. But, this is not a story that took me to another plane. I am never a lover of representations of objects in art. Maybe because I want someone to surprise me, to make me laugh or to awe me, or to perplex me (can perplex be used this way?): so, give me Cubism, Surrealism, or even Post-modernism, and I am thrilled -- finally, I understand myself and how I can categorize a bunch of books as impressionistic and explain why I am not entirely taken by them!

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