By Jeanette Winter
Schwartz & Wade (Random House)
Gentle gets a bad rap. Books that scream and shout get a lot of attention, but often it is a classic case of sound and fury signifying nothing. Jeanette Winter is a master of the calm and quiet – qualities that might not grab all the attention, but have a way of creating deep meaning. Kali’s Song is another example of this sort of storytelling. It’s gentle, but it’s powerful.
In the prehistoric age of the mammoth, it’s time Kali learns to hunt. His father teaches him how to use a bow and arrow, but Kali would rather use his bow as a musical instrument. When the day of the big hunt arrives, Kali shares his talent and amazes both man and beast.
Themes of community and peace are not subtle, but Winter communicates them nicely, as the character of Kali comes to his own realizations and shows peacefulness, rather than telling it.
Winter’s acrylic and pen and ink illustrations have a childlike quality that are accessible to young readers. All of the illustrations are atop handmade paper, providing an added layer of depth.
If you’re looking for a book that will incite some introspection and serve as a jumping off point for discussion, this is one for you. A quiet success.
Review copy from the publisher.