Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jemmy Button by Alix Barzelay, Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali (illus.)


Based on the true story of Orundellico, a boy from the islands around Tierra del Fuego  (Chili/Argentina) who was taken from his homeland to England in 1830. He spent 15 months in the U.K. where he learned some English and adopted the dress of Victorian England. Using mixed media shapes, the artists show what the boy must have felt upon seeing the strangers. Silhouettes of men are shown wearing Victorian clothing in the wild and lush jungle."We will call you Jemmy Button," the visitor said as he gave Orundellico's family a mother of pearl button in exchange for Jemmy. On his voyage, Jemmy looked out of the porthole and is amazed at the sea life. All of the artwork serves to show how the world felt to Jemmy, whether it was astonishment, alienation or homesickness. Jemmy Button does eventually return to his island and it's way of life. Through it's
simple pictures and limited text, this book succeeds in conveying the emotions of Jemmy/Orundellico and a small portion of his life.

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