Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* This wordless, 80-page picture book opens with an elderly man waking up. He goes outside and we discover he lives at the seaside. After a floating bottle beaches, he opens it to find a piece of paper. He begins to draw: a picture of a boat. He places the paper back in the bottle and returns it to the sea. The action then shifts to a city, where a small boy finds an envelope at his doorstep. Inside is the drawing. And we watch as the boy draws a crude picture of himself inside the boat. The next thing we know, he is aboard it, flying to the old man. When he arrives, they embrace; the boy hands the man the envelope, and flies off. Inside the envelope is the picture the boy has drawn. Fin. This strange story is drawn in gorgeous, full-bleed, sepia-toned, sharp-angled Expressionist style, like storyboards for a Tim Burton film. But what does it mean? Some readers may postulate that the boy and man are the same person, separated only by age. After all, there are many parallels between them. Others may interpret it as simply an evocative dream. Whatever it is, it's a wonderful invitation to imagine. What could be better than that?--Cart, Michael Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Originally published in Brazil, Coelho's enigmatic wordless tale bridges picture book and graphic novel territory as it traces the surprising encounter between an elderly man in a ramshackle seaside cottage and a child in a distant city. After the wiry, mustachioed man discovers a note in a bottle, he's inspired to draw a fantastical flying machine, which resembles half of a sailing ship augmented with a nest of gears. The man sends his drawing back to sea, and the action shifts to the city, where a boy finds it in a letter in front of his home; how it got there from the bottle isn't revealed. After drawing himself (and his cat) into the picture, the boy sails the ship to meet the man in his dreams. Coelho (Books Do Not Have Wings) stages his story in dramatically lit, sharp-edged, and distinctly surreal panels and panoramas; his limited palette of blues and sepias conveys a strong sense of isolation, particularly in the boy's chilly, deserted city. It's a haunting story of inexplicable connections, and Coelho resists spelling out its mysteries, letting readers draw their own conclusions. Ages 7-up. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 1-4-Outside a seaside cottage sitting on stilts, an elderly gent and his avian companion spy a glass bottle floating in the ocean. When the bottle reaches the shore, the man discovers that it contains a blank sheet of paper. The bird encourages him to sketch a picture on the paper, and the man does, creating a fantastical flying ship, replete with ornate fixtures and billowing sails. Stunning stylized sepia artwork on full pages and in panels illustrates this wordless story and depicts a tiny home crammed with cabinets and cupboards and bins and shelves packed with books, pencils, lamps, radios, and drawings. Close-up interior views open to wide-angle outdoor scenes, heightening the tale's mystery. The man's picture eventually finds its way into the hands of a boy whose home in a distant city is reminiscent of the cottage by the sea: filled to the brim with pictures and papers, ship models, and drawing tools. The child adds his face and his cat's to the drawing and tapes it to his headboard before falling asleep. He dreams that he travels on the ship and meets and embraces the man before sailing home. At night, in bed, the man looks at the drawing the boy has returned. When morning breaks, readers are back with the child, who greets the dawn with arms outstretched. Has the man been reunited with the child? VERDICT Intriguing images and interpretations abound, offering readers lots to pore over and ponder. A lovely choice.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
An old man on an island and a young child in a city form a connection through messages in bottles and ships on paper in Brazilian Coelho's wordless, dreamlike spectacle. An elderly white man wakes, alone but for a few avian companions, and discovers a blank piece of paper in a bottle washed up on the shore of his island home. After some consideration, he pencils on it an intricate drawing of a ship, returns the paper to the bottle, and tosses it back into the waves. Elsewhere, ensconced in an urban landscape, a dark-haired, pale-skinned child comes home to find an unmarked envelope on the doorstepinside is the old man's drawing. From here, a journey commencesmaybe in reality, maybe in a dreambringing the two characters together in a brief, touching meeting. As with all wordless picture books, this narrative is a negotiation between illustrations and readers. Are these characters grandfather and grandchild crossing space? Future and past versions of the same person transcending time? Or perhaps simply a pair whose loneliness is eased by dreams born of isolation? With spreads defying the barrier of the gutter, varied visual perspectives, and expertly paced page turns, Coelho's methodical cacophony of highly detailed visual invention successfully (if narrowly) avoids miring the narrative momentum in its artistry. A nuanced physical and emotional landscape aimed to capture experienced readers but likely to snag the occasional neophyte as well. (Picture book. 8 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.