Translated Don Bartlett [wh.male, Norway]
Gecko Press, 2019. Orig. published in Norway, 2017
Hardcover Picture Book, 32 pp.
Cornelia is not pleased with the new house, and as you look around the room, you can guess why. And from the first, the house looks lonely. On a wordless page, she loses it; and in familiar parental fashion, she’s sent outside. I have to say that those woods do not look any less creepy than the house, but she finds a ladder and climbs it. Maybe she saw what the reader/listener will notice: little houses with little ladders, and a hammock and tire swing…
The climb is a long one but she’s met with a mail box and welcome sign…and a boy with an eye patch named Fredrik. His is quite the treehouse! [Notice the objects borrowed/shared from the original room.] Most important, however, is the Jungle Machine. I enjoyed it at this age, but this is a book that I would’ve loved as a child. Physically, the book is a larger one, but you appreciate the effort to increase the scale for detail and the book’s immersive qualities. I adore the color palette, the details, the imagination; the wordless pages of adventure.
Cornelia makes a friend in Frederik and there are those promises of returning another day. And it’s noticed that when Cornelia returns home the porch and front door are prominent (less overall looming composition). She’s situated in another room now, at a cozy dining table with food and family. [Note the feather, which is even more promising than the glimpse of Frederik’s home in the trees…]
Cornelia and the Jungle Machine is a beautiful childhood in nature and adventures book. It has a magical quality that translates into incredible possibilities if a child is willing or able to look for it.
I wonder what will follow “and” in Cornelia’s next adventure…
Recommended for Aaron Becker’s Journey fans. Brought Bridge to Terabithia to mind.
Nora Brech was born in 1988 and lives in Oslo, Norway. She works as an illustrator and has a degree in drawing. Cornelia and the Jungle Machine is her first book as both author and illustrator.