The art amplifies the characteristically dark, rich tones of Almond’s prose all the way to a final Dylan Thomas-style promise that "the world and all that’s in it will continue to…hold us in its darkness and its light."…A keen collaboration moving seamlessly between worlds inner and outer, natural and supernatural.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This throws Joe into an existential funk, expertly rendered in McKean’s dark, mixed-media illustrations, where overlapping, scribbled sketches embody confusion and conflict, jarring collages evoke an unsettled atmosphere, and negative space echoes absence and haunting memories. Joe navigates his inner turmoil, including grief and religious confusion, forming earnest revelations about life’s poltergeists (i.e., disruptions) and finding peace.
McKean restores a sense of compromised hope to complement Almond’s conclusion through a mix of dark greens with a smidge of yellow light above Davie’s head and the town itself, making this a marvelous lesson in visual metaphor as well as a thought-provoking horror story.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
McKean’s frenetic, ever-shifting mixed-media illustrations dramatically convey Davie’s experiences and story’s vivid characters, evoking a distinct sense of disquiet, while Almond’s text propels the plot and provides deeper meaning. Gripping and philosophical, this collaboration will prompt discussion.
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