Ben Clanton’s Something Extraordinary is a cute little book, about a young boy who wishes things: That he could fly and move things telekinetically, or that the rain would come in colours. He wishes, finally, that something real would happen, and it does.
Clanton’s illustrations are simple but effective, coloured in muted tones of blues and browns, before exploding in bright colours for the final few pages. The supporting characters –the robot and the bird– are especially fun and well done. Anybody already enamored of Clanton’s style will find much to love here, and those who are unfamiliar with his work will likely find themselves converted. He specializes in a sort of elevated childishness in his character designs and execution, which is especially pleasing to kids.
The narrative is joyful and holds some surprises for young readers. Each page holds a new and engaging act sprung from the boy’s imagination.
For the majority of its length, this is a book about the power of a child’s imagination; the final take-away, however, is that you should appreciate the wonder in the world around you. It’s a nice ending, and it’s adorably rendered, but it feels at odds with what came before, especially since the section of the book concerning imagination is markedly more beige and less vibrant than what is rooted in the real world.
Despite this, Something Extraordinary is a wonderful addition to Ben Clanton’s already stellar bibliography. Another great story, from one of the most reliable talents in the business.
Kinderlit.ca requested and received a copy of Something Extraordinary in exchange for an honest review. Read about our review policy HERE.