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Adele in Sand Land: 08/10/18

Adele in Sand Land

Adele in Sand Land (2017) by Claude Ponti is the English translation by Toon Books of Adele et la pèle (1988). It is a surreal picture book about a young girl going on a strange, otherworldly journey that begins and ends at park.

Although I'm primarily focusing on American and Canadian road narratives for my research, this images I saw from it on the Gathering Books blog, made me feel like it was a good outlier candidate.

One illustration leads into the next through the manipulation and transformation of shapes, similar to M.C. Escher illustrations or Rob Gonsalves's paintings. But the individual scenes, especially as Adele gets further into this alternate world, are very surreal, almost psychedelic. Some reviews compare the art style to the Yellow Submarine.

In terms of a road narrative, ff one wants to argue that Adele is symbolically an orphan because she travels alone and could have been orphaned should she have been stranded, then it's near the far edge of the fantastic, with both an extraordinary protagonist and destination, but a linear path. The most extreme example of a road narrative is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Stepping back and looking at the book for its target audience, elementary school children who read comic books, I would say it will have limited appeal. It will delight children who are into surrealism, into optical illusions, into puns. I suspect the word play aspect of it works best in the original French.

Four stars

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