“Some Things I’ve Lost,” Cybèle Young, Groundwood Books, $19.95, ages 4-7
A brown woolen hat, a tiny tape dispenser, a squeaking toy bear: As a kid I kept a list of lost things. I found a few and crossed them off the list, but most stayed gone forever. Imagining where I’d left them only left me wistful and wondering. Cybèle Young’s high-concept art book offers answers to the fates of misplaced things, but in her wild vision for the afterlife of objects, things come undone, twisting and exploding reality until it becomes science fiction.
Take “Fig. 1 Object: Roller Skate Last Seen: Basement obstacle course.” It looks small and ordinary — white boot, red wheels alone in the middle of the white page. Under the page flap the skate’s transformation is revealed. A progression of four images — intricate Japanese paper sculptures — first shows the skate open into something insect-like. Then the skate’s ties form a lacy network. The wheels multiply into red berries. The final structure floating on the page could be a newly observed virus in the blood- stream, magnified thousands of times, or something interplanetary. The only way you can tear yourself away from the strange creature’s intricate beauty is by asking yourself, what wonders lie on the following pages?
A visor that sprouts branches and buds, an umbrella that turns into a kind of jellyfish, and eyeglasses that morph into a bug-eyed fish all get similarly riotous treatment. You could spend 10 minutes poring over each page.
Have you ever played with those tiny clear capsules that grow into little animal sponges when you add water? Imagine a book that is as unexpectedly delightful as those little playthings, but more beautiful and intriguing. Page after page Young takes something small and ordinary and transforms it, expanding the possibilities of the everyday.