Educate To Life - Montessori Notes

From Black&White to Technicolor: The Visitor

This little treasure by German author Antje Damm is entirely made with diorama images and it's out now in English.
Diorama are miniature models representing scenes with 3D figures which produce some dramatic, unconventional and truly engaging effects when applied to illustration.
Elise is a middle-aged woman who lives alone in a perfectly tidy, clean house. She is scared of the outside world and of people, and never leaves the house, until one day a young boy accidentally flies his paper plane through her window, bringing life back into the house.
Elise's slow awakening is marked by the passage from black&white to full-colour as the outside light and the boy are let into the house. 
There's this beautiful opposition between the darkness of the room in the first scene and the yellow, warm light sneaking in through the locked door and through the windows when Elise leaves them semi-open to get some fresh air. And since it's the light that creates colour, as the door is left open     everything turns into technicolor, including Elise herself, who finally embraces the unexpected, together with the memory of her youth.
Like on a theatre stage, the scenery is minimal and symbolic, staying pretty much the same and drawing the reader's attention on  its elements. There is in fact a third character in this story: it's the young Elise portrayed in the picture on the wall. A person that she might have forgotten, yet still alive.
Red is a dominant colour in this process, red is the blood circulating emotions in our body: red is the large wake of paint left by the boy on the stairs as he climbs to reach the bathroom, and red are Elise's checks at the end of the story, just like when she was young. 
The Visitor is a sweet, heartwarming tale about opening and growing young, reminding us the value of play and human interaction  despite the fear, the disappointment and that feeling of just wanting to hide from the world that many of us experience to some extent in our lives.
The artwork will enchant young children and everyone will end up loving this little woman playing hide and seek on her knees.

You can download activity sheets on Gecko Press Book Club page here, and build Elise's house! How cool is that?:)
The Visitor [July 2018 - translated from German, 2015]
Words&art by Antje Damm
English-language edition by Gecko Press
Reading age: 2+
Themes: Relationship with the others, Play, Children and Adults

Credits: Gecko Press 

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