Review of Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue Out of the Blue
by Rebecca Bach-Lauritsen; illus. by Anna Margrethe Kjærgaard; trans. from Danish by Michael Favala Goldman
Primary    Enchanted Lion    92 pp.
3/24    9781592704019    $18.95

The hero of this story lives alone in his extremely tidy house. He shines his shoes, irons his shirt, plays hide-and-seek with his cactus, and practices the piano. Everything is predictable, organized, and safe. He is a child living like a reclusive, buttoned-up adult. He likes it that way—or so the text says. The illustrations hint at a different reality. In the restrained, sepia-toned pencil drawings we see precise, orderly renditions of the setting, with inventories of the desk, the flowers in the garden, the contents of the first-aid kit. But there are off-kilter details: chimney smoke that turns into a kind of origami shape, wallpaper that seems to be taking over, and some glimpses of bears, paintings of bears, bear-shaped bookends. Then a real bear, who might be a dream-bear, arrives, and the boy, who might be a dream-boy, turns into a real child. Together, the two friends roughhouse, break crockery, dance, make messes, laugh, growl at the moon, and tenderly cozy up together to sleep. The boy’s cheeks warm from blue to pink. This Danish import is a gentle testament to friendship, the potential for growth and change, and the sheer exhilaration of letting go.

From the May/June 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Ellis
Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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