Underground by Shane W. Evans
Using only the shortest of sentences, the smallest of words, Evans has created a picture book that captures the fear and hope of escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. The well-chosen words add to the tension, keeping it taut with danger. It reads as if the author too is trying to be quiet, near silent and to escape notice.
The palette is one of darkness with bright whites of eyes shining, the colors capturing the oppression of slavery. As freedom nears, the colors change, almost glowing with the light and brightness of freedom. The art here is what makes the book so special. The images are collage mixed with the texture of brushstrokes, all evoking a rustic, roughness. Yet in the faces there is a nobility, a grace, a hope that shines through.
A beautiful, evocative book that is haunting and ever so strong. It will work beautifully for elementary aged children learning about the Civil War and slavery. Appropriate for ages 7-10.
Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.