Sonata For Fish and Boy by Milan Pavlović is a charming, wordless story about the lasting bonds of friendship and the power of music to unite.

The book opens on a fish swimming toward a musical note, and it follows the note to the surface to find a young child playing the violin on a bench near its pond. The child falls asleep and, in their dreams, the two travel together through villages and trees and space and oceans, floating toward some unknown destination. Their journey is guided by many musical notes –– or perhaps the music follows them! –– and a few spreads at the end of the book indicate that their friendship spans many decades after the two wake from their shared dream.

Pavlović created the illustrations with colored inks and pencils on watercolor paper, which is absolutely perfect for depicting two characters swimming through a dream world. He uses a muted color palette pre-dream, with shades of gray tinged with complementary colors red and green, and keen observers can see the child and fish tumbling back into a gray world at the end before many decades of friendship pass. In between, the dream world is colorful and bright, not to mention highly interactive for the characters and full of details for readers.

Sonata For Fish and Boy publishes May 4, 2021 from Groundwood Books. 

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May 2, 2021 at 11:54AM (Mel Schuit)