Wild Things x OnlinesOnline: EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho
*Originally featured at OnlinesOnline.
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In this concept book, a girl notices the small details about the eyes around her that make each person unique and beautiful.
“Her eyes are filled with so many stories;
I can fall inside them
and swim until time stops.”
I could have pulled any of the lines from this book to remark about how beautiful the language is, but I wanted to do that AND something else.
So first: the metaphor here is beautiful. The protagonist is talking about her grandmother’s, her Amah’s, eyes here, which “don’t work like they used to.” The language here makes me think Amah’s eyes might be watery, but the protagonist doesn’t see them like that. She sees them as an extension of her Amah, who always tells engrossing stories.
This line is also a beautiful example of how Ho uses detail and figurative language to tell the story of the protagonist’s family. The young girl doesn’t just see eyes, she sees details that tell stories about the people. This is a wonderful way to look at the human tendency to notice surface details. That fact is not dismissed here, but it’s expanded upon: let’s accept our noticing, but remember that those details mean nothing until we know the person.
“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Just like the book, this classic song is all about embracing the details of the world and holding up its beauty.