- Song of the Old City by Anna Pellicioli
Trade ed. ISBN 9781524741044 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9781524741051 $10.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 4-7 yrs
A little girl passes through Istanbul, receiving and spreading kindness: first a fisherman gives her a fish, which she throws back into the ocean; a pastry seller gifts the girl a free treat, which she shares with the seagulls; a man gives her a steaming cup of tea, and she regifts the accompanying silver spoon to a boy who plays the accordion; a man exchanges pomegranate juice for the story of the girl’s day. The text has a calming bedtime-story flavor, with second-person narration that places the listener into the girl’s shoes with a soothing cadence: “The city whispers something you don’t quite understand. The water shines for you. The freight ships sing low. Dozens of jellyfish dance in the depths.” Atilgan’s digital art accentuates the peaceful tone, displaying scenes of comfort and bliss in smudgy textured spreads [End Page 140] with waves of the ocean, steam from a bathhouse, or a delicious sesame round; all the people of the city have charmingly messy hair. The pay-it-forward message is sweet and well implemented in the girl’s simple actions, and viewers may take pause to hear the song of their surroundings as well.