Where is the center of the sea? Why do the waves never break there? A book containing unanswerable, fantastical questions, inviting us to be curious, while simultaneously embracing what we cannot know.
This bilingual Spanish-English edition is the first illustrated selection of questions, 70 in all, from Pablo Neruda's original poem (320 questions) The Book of Questions. Holding the wonder and mystery of childhood and the experience and knowing that come with growing up, these questions are by turns lyrical, strange, surreal, spiritual, historical and political. They foreground the natural world, and their curiosity transcends all logic; and because they are paradoxes and riddles that embrace the limits of our ability to know, they engage with human freedom in the deepest way, removing the burden and constraint that somehow, we are meant to have answers to every question. Gorgeously, cosmically illustrated by Paloma Valdivia, here Neruda's questions, already visual in themselves, gain a double visuality that makes them even more palpable and resonant. So clearly rooted in Chilean landscapes as they are, the questions are revealed as a communion with nature and its mysteries.
Exquisite endpapers pay tribute to the universe contained within: “Where did the full moon forget / her flour-dusted nightgown?” A gorgeous work that stretches the imagination and delights the senses.
Copyright 2022 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission.
K-Gr 4--Blues and reds and yellows weave in and out of words trailing one after another, poking and prodding the universe for answers to millennia-old questions: "Why do trees hide/ the splendor of their roots?" "Does the earth chirp like a cricket/ in the symphony of the skies?" Sixty of the original 316 questions penned by the inimitable Chilean poet Pablo Neruda perch on vibrant landscapes solo, in pairs, or in trilling triplets. Each rumination is compelling in its whimsy, yet profound in its simplicity. Just as a wish cast onto the heavens returns with a treasure, so too do the thoughts of the poet. "Where does the rainbow end, / in your soul or on the horizon?" The answers, like the questions, dwell in infinity. Both the original Spanish and Paulson's English translation mirror the poignancy echoing from one tongue to the next. Her translations sustain the lyricism of Neruda's dreamscapes.Valdivia's stylized illustrations are striking and a perfect counterpoint to this wondrous collection of ethereal literary images. Both a translator and illustrator's note are included, but an author's biography is mystifyingly absent. VERDICT A lovely exploration of diversity, language, and culture, and a splendid introduction to Neruda's works for the very young.--Mary Margaret Mercado, Pima Cty. P. L., Tucson, AZCopyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.