La La La
illustrated by Jaime Kim
Candlewick Press, October 2017
Picture book, ISBN 978-0-7636-5833-5
“La la la … la.” A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds—but no song comes back to her.
Day passes into night, and the girl dares to venture into the darkness toward the light of the moon, becoming more insistent in her singing, climbing as high as she can, but still there is silence in return.
Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound … She has been heard. At last.
With the simplest of narratives and the near absence of words, Kate DiCamillo conveys a lonely child’s yearning for someone who understands. With a subtle palette and captivating expressiveness, Jaime Kim brings to life an endearing character and a transcendent landscape that invite readers along on an emotionally satisfying journey.
Read the Reviews
Kim’s spreads form a long, almost cinematic sequence. The girl is adorable, though the night world she moves through is dazzling rather than cute—it takes bravery and audacity to sing to that beauty. DiCamillo’s story, told with a single word, is one even youngest readers can understand. Everyone wants to be seen, and everyone wants someone to sing back to them. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
DiCamillo and Kim combine their considerable talents in this almost wordless picture book that speaks to a universal longing: the hope that we are not alone … Kim’s gouache-and-acrylic artwork, graphically strong and full of heart, illuminates DiCamillo’s concept. Adults could almost use this as flip-book with children, so full of movement are the pictures. But the best use will be as a springboard for discussion about loneliness, life, and love. (Booklist)
In a nearly wordless book, DiCamillo delivers an inspiring, powerful story beautifully realized through Kim’s mixed-media illustrations … The square format contains soft colors that contrast with strong geometric design elements, subtly underscoring the push and pull of emotional tension. The limited palette of comforting, complementary purples and yellows along with the character’s expressive body language evoke both her loneliness and determination to overcome it. For a dreamer, it’s easy to imagine a singer in the benevolent face in the moon—here it’s a symbol of hope. (Kirkus Reviews)
Some books are striking because of their content. Some stand out because they are unlike anything that creator has made before … This one is a little of both. It’s a fully-realized story (with sizable assistance from Jaime Kim) written by a Newbery winner containing one word consisting of two letters. Also, it’s about a girl striking up a friendship with the moon. (100 Scope Notes)