By Laetitia Devernay
Chronicle Books, $18.95, 64 pages

The movements of an orchestra conductor bring music to life. What happens when you put a conductor in the middle of nature? What will the movements of his baton create? French author and illustrator Laetitie Devernay ponders these questions in her graphic novel The Conductor. In this unique wordless narrative, readers of any age will enjoy the magical interaction between the conductor and a special grove of trees. After climbing the tallest tree and swishing his baton, the conductor is a silent witness to a beautiful surprise. Birds made from the intricately designed leaves of the trees fly across the pages, whirling and swirling into unexpected life. Rather than filling the entire book with ink drawings, Devernay precisely chooses where her images will go to make the most impact on the reader. Blank white spaces reveal just as much as do the black, crème, blue, and green illustrations. Each page shows another imaginative portrayal of movement and life. The conductor takes his bow and readers will applaud the moving ending to Devernay’s tale. Book lovers will cherish this truly creative work of art. This is a literary and graphic design treasure.

Kathryn Franklin