Monday, January 21, 2013

Anybody Home? Hello! Hello! by Matthew Cordell

It's a device-driven domicile for little Lydia. To her greeting,, Mom mumbles a barely audible "hello," drowned out by her laptop's keyboard with its incessant tak tak tak.

Dad’s greeting is a warm and cheery pec pec pec on his cell phone, and from brother Bob she gets nothing but the sounds of a game on his tablet.

Zap Bap Pow!

There is nothing on television but reruns.

Where IS everybody?

Lydia takes it out the door in search of signs of real life. A leaf drops down to keep her company. A flower comes up at her feet. A bug joins her in her quest. It’s a world of color, movement, and endless possibilities!

Lydia finds a horse who says Hello! and as Lydia mounts him, they gallop together out into the world, where buffalo, deer, a gorilla and ostrich, and even a dinosaur meet and greet her. It’s a ride on the wild side until something intrudes.


Lydia’s cellphone sounds and suddenly she hears her panicked parents, wanting to know where SHE is.

Back home, Lydia arranges a digital trade–her leaf, flower, and bug for her family members’ digital devices, and they all go outside to say hello to the real world for a an interactive experience with nature.

Matthew Cordell’s hello! hello! (Hyperion, 2012) is a serio-comic cyber fable for our times. Cordell’s illustrations utilize the old Wizard of Oz movie device: Lydia’s indoor world is gray, her words appearing in digital script, while her outdoor world is bright and color-washed, becoming more and more fantastical as Lydia’s imagination rises to the challenge. Cordell’s theme is simple and timely: turn off the virtual world and really see the people and the world around us.

For a similarly themed but spoofier version of this virtual vision of life, see author “Ann Droyd’s” witty Goodnight iPad: a Parody for the next generation (See my review here.)

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