Flight of Fancy: Follow Me by Tricia Tusa
HOW DO YOU LIKE TO GO UP IN A SWING,
UP IN THE AIR SO BLUE?
OH, I DO THINK IT'S THE PLEASANTEST THING
EVER A CHILD CAN DO!
So begins Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Swing," whose theme Trica Tusa's forthcoming Follow Me (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) recaptures in her soaring fanciful flight of childhood imagination. Tusa's swinger is no plump and dimpled Victorian tot: she's a long, limber-limbed kid whose bony ankles have grown well out of her brown pants and whose long, skinny braid swings wide behind her, but as she climbs on that old rope and board swing and kicks off, her thoughts soar through the air with those of her predecessor of more than a century ago.
I WANDER THROUGH PINK
AND GET LOST IN BLUE.
LOOK AT ME, FOLLOW ME
INTO THE CURL OF A BREEZE. ACROSS THAT EASY SWAY OF BLUE.
Outdoing Stevenson's always tethered-to-earth child, Tusa's little girl soars through the colors of a spring garden, over the wall of reality, and into the browns, yellows, and reds of a beginning-to-bloom wood, floating across the rooftops, finally to drift down, down, down to the green world to find her way back home at last.
As Robert Frost puts it, it's "good both going and coming back," in Tusa's Follow Me, a celebration of childhood imagination and its ability to slip the bounds of earth and fly, or as her dedication says, a salute "to childhood and all that comes after."
Tusa's illustrations have contributed to many noted books, including In a Blue Room, Maebelle's Suitcase (Reading Rainbow Book) and this year's The Sandwich Swap, co-authored by Jordan's Princess Rania and Kelly DiPucchio, author of Grace for President.