Review of The Imaginaries, by Emily Winfield Martin

The Imaginaries

Little Scraps of Larger Stories

by Emily Winfield Martin

Random House, 2020. 80 pages.
Review written July 11, 2020, from a library book
Starred Review

This book is a worthy addition to the tradition of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg. What you have are a set of fantastical paintings, each with a scrap of text, with the text usually shown as actually written on a scrap of paper.

The caption that goes with the picture that appears on the front cover is “Lily wanted to be a good place to land.”

One of my favorites shows a monkey holding a key and says, “Ask the monkey what he knows.” It’s written on the back of an envelope.

There’s a picture of five children wearing dresses at the edge of a forest, and they have the heads of animals. The caption says, “Their parents never knew the secret.”

A few characters seem to appear in more than one picture.

A note at the front from the author says that she found these scraps of words and pictures over the years, “illustrations for stories that do not exist,” in various places.

I found one in a lighthouse, one in a packet of seeds, one in the trunk of a hollow tree.

There was one tucked in the corner of a forgotten diorama, one hidden like a pearl in an oyster shell . . . one forgotten in a paperback from a used bookstore in Paris.

These pictures will send your imagination circling as you browse them, and may provide seeds for all kinds of stories.

A wonderful offering.

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Source: This review is based on a library book.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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