20 Oct / The Seeing Stick by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini
Without a doubt, the most remarkable part of this striking new edition of Jane Yolen’s 1977 title are the pictures. The story is simple: a Chinese emperor’s daughter, blind since birth, learns to “see” with the help of a wise old man and his mysteriously powerful walking stick.
But oh how the tale comes to vibrant life with newcomer (this is only her second children’s title!) Daniela Terrazzini’s magical pictures. To underscore young Hwei Ming’s dark existence, the book begins in black and white with a few shades of gray. At the emperor’s desperate bidding, monks, physicians, and other specialists arrive to cure the girl, hoping to earn the promised reward of many jewels.
Yet no one can help her … until a very old man literally begins to change the landscape, adding a few muted splashes of blues and maroons, as he journeys toward the palace to help Hwei Ming. The walking stick he carries brings his stories to life, adding vibrant color to his many tales… and the book’s pages actually shine and shimmer with Terrazzini’s gorgeous illustrations.
With the old man’s gentle guidance, Hwei Ming learns to “see” with her fingers, her hands, her inner being, and she, too, bursts into color – her cheeks turn pink, her rich brocade dresses swoosh, she glows with new understanding. The transformation of Hwei Ming’s world, both in her story and on the actual page, is astonishing. Terrazzini’s talent truly presents a magical gift of technicolor sight.
Published: 1977, 2009 (newly illustrated edition)