Saturday, April 19, 2008
Kaito's cloth by Glenda Millard and Gaye Chapman - review
Kaito's cloth by Glenda Millard and Gaye Chapman
Here's something of a weird book. Kaito arrives at the top of the Mountain of Dreams with a basket full of dead butterflies, hoping the Lord of Flight will make them fly one more time before winter. He says no. She goes home and makes a kite.
Now, of course it's not fair to summarize the plot of a picture book like that. On the other hand, that IS how the book goes - from the start, it feels like you've come in late... Kaito is just arriving at the mountain after a three-day walk. You have no idea why she started walking or what she wants on the Mountain of Dreams. And at the end, when she has sewn her fine cloth with "ten thousand tiny stitches" and brought it to the Lord of Flight, you feel like it might just be possible that she's going to use it as wings to attempt flight herself. She'll die tragically and the Lord of Flight will turn her into a butterfly... but luckily, it's just a kite.
The illustrations are spectacular though, with nearly every surface embellished with butterflies and curlicues. Not super-well-known in the U.S., Australian artist Gaye Chapman's books are always worth finding.