For anyone who has looked at a wall and seen a blank canvass
If readers are first directed to the text on the dedication page [See Excerpt], all will make sense of this deceptively simple story as it highlights the real meaning behind the book.
One morning a tired city rat made her way home.
But when she got there, she found it had been transformed.
Indeed, this charming, subtle book is layered with deeper insight as to the uplifting role of art in the lives, both animal and human, in an urban landscape. The inhabitants of this city, whether they are bats, ants, racoons, or people, notice splashes of hot pink drawings with the signature of Anonymous, yet no other explanation is given.
And just as surprising as the appearance of these brightly scattered pieces of street art is the disappearance of them as time fades them away. These startling pictures have left a deep impression on this city and those who live in it. Many might wonder if or when these intriguing bold pictures will appear again or where the mysterious and imaginative Anonymouse is using his talents. For now, those that live in this city seem willing to take this challenge to heart as “they looked at this city in a whole new way”.
The title is as clever as is the story, itself, and both deserve a discussion with students. Although it appears very much like a picture book for young readers, I believe its underlying message seems more suitable to an older audience. This gem would be very appropriate for art students, who will recognize its nod to street artist Banksy, and could provoke a fruitful discussion of the usefulness and value of art.
Both the text and mischievous artwork, which is rendered digitally, is humorous. quirky and inspiring. Monotone backgrounds primarily of beige, and darker browns depicting walls, pipes, windows, streets, trees, wheels, and seen from varied perspectives, are peppered with whimsical touches of that brilliant pink. The result, Anonymouse, is inspirational and provocative.
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba.