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The Sound of Colors: A Journey of the Imagination    by Jimmy Liao order for
Sound of Colors
by Jimmy Liao
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the story of a journey in imagination, taken by someone whose 'sight was slipping away.' As the blind narrator descends into the subway 'where the wind never blows / and the rain never falls' the reader sees through her remarkable mind's eye. This picture book was written and magically illustrated by Taiwanese Jimmy Liao, with the English text adapted by Sarah L. Thomson.

The girl waits for the train wondering, 'if all the subway tracks / in the world / join together. / Then where would I go?' She shows us where, in bursts of colorful creativity. Elephants 'peacefully, patiently' climb the stairs out of the station. Pigs play in a sunny glade. She picks apples 'heavy in my hand with their juice.' She descends once more, then climbs up to swim in an ocean, where dolphins share 'the secrets of the sea', and rests on a whale island. She ascends to the clouds and learns to fly from the wind. She searches for something.

She speaks of losing the light - 'Now I listen for the sound / of the colors I can't see. / I try to smell the shapes, / taste the light and dark.' She seeks an elusive butterfly, who'll 'bring me back / to the light that I lost, / still glowing here / in my heart.' Kids will love the surprising details to be found on each poignant page, and all ages will empathize with the young narrator - what she's lost, and what she's found.

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