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ereksonj

ereksonj

The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery - Dennis Brindell Fradin, Judith Bloom Fradin, Eric Velasquez The focus on a specific historical incident is something I usually like. And John Price's rescue is a dramatic and gripping story. Maybe I'm in a bad mood this week, but I found it annoying that so little was done to make the visual experience of this story complementary to the text. While the pictures could probably stand on their own as a storyboard of this narrative, they mirror the words almost exactly. Velasquez moves back and forth between a somewhat impressionistic style and a photorealistic one, which felt inconsistent across the book. The actual moment of the rescue felt a little bit confusing--mostly I was wondering where Jennings and his guards went. Neither the pictures nor the words explain this.

Overall, the past two weeks it has been difficult to find a book where it feels like the illustrator and author(s) spent time together to create a unified work of art. In general, I would fault editors for this, because it seems they are the ones who have to determine the nature and agreement on what a project is, and broker the relationship between the author and illustrator. Since the 1980s the glut in the picturebook market has ensured that a lot of medium quality books get out there, and it makes me wonder whether editors don't really know or talk about what makes a quality picturebook.