Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Review - My Valley

My Valley
by Claude Ponti
Date: 1998
Publisher: Elsewhere Editions
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 42
Format: e-book
Source: library

In My Valley, Claude Ponti leads us on a journey through an enchanted world inhabited by "Touims" (tiny, adorable, monkey-like creatures), secret tree dwellings, flying buildings, and sad giants. Clever language and beautifully detailed maps of imaginary landscapes will delight children and adults alike. Ponti himself has said, "My stories are like fairytales, always situated in the marvelous, speaking to the interior life and emotions of children. That way each child can get what they want out of the images: the characters and dreams are their own."

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a strange little book. It's not so much a story as an exercise in world-building. To me, it almost seemed like a companion book to a TV show or a book series, something that explains the world and characters and background of the setting. There's a map, a detailed diagram of the Twims' tree home, and plenty of little stories about things that happened in the world.

It's definitely a book that needs to be read in a fairly large format; I had to zoom in all the way on the library app on my laptop screen; even at 3.5x zoom, I still had trouble reading some of the stuff on the map.

I just don't know what to make of this. The little stories themselves are really short and don't have much plot; they're more anecdotes than stories, really. The pictures are cute, and if you like detailed maps and drawings, you might like the illustrations. But I'm struggling to find the point of this. Other than as a companion to another body of work, I'm not sure it really works.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.17 out of 5

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