Monday, April 11, 2011

“Today, Maybe”

By Dominique Demers and Gabrielle Grimard
ISBN No. 978-1-55469-400-6

The introspective, reflective medium of print has always had a problem when it comes to younger readers. Inside a child’s head is a dangerous place to be. First impressions solidify into lifelong perceptions and emerging emotions permanently merge with dramatic storylines. The best example of this is the unexpected (?) demonizing of foreigners when a writer gives her story’s evil characters with unusual names. But with mainstream non-fiction addressing loneliness as a lifelong condition “Today, Maybe” – about a girl whose “only treasure was her one hundred favorite books” choosing imaginary friendships with literary characters over real people – is both the hot button book of the moment and a hopeful sign that kid lit is evolving as fast as the internet. This is a lovely little book – with bite. Yes, it’s “just” a children’s book full of famous friendly/frightening heroes (wicked witches, princes, wolves) that entertain bored children, but it’s also a book of epic perspective. It evokes everything from the plot of “Where the Wild Things Are” (a child’s solitary daydream), Sartre’s comment that “hell is other people” and a line from “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”: “I’m alone, not lonely.” Of course, that’s a fat interpretation of a very slim picture book – but it’s also a big recommendation. Ideal for children and perfect for parents who actually like to connect with their kids, “Today, Maybe” is as much about a lifelong love of literature as it is about the importance of a rich imagination.