Edgar Allan Poe’s dream poem is as close to music as words can ever come. First published on October 9, 1849 – two days after Poe’s death – this haunting, lyric poem is thought to have been written in memory of Poe’s young wife, Virginia, who died in 1847. Gilles Tibo has set the poem in his native Quebec, where the narrator and his childhood love Annabel Lee discover the beauty of the rugged, wind-swept Gaspé Peninsula. But when Annabel Lee dies and is borne away as mysteriously as she had come, the dream goes on, refreshed each time that the moon beams and the stars shine down upon the great rock of Percé that becomes her sepulcher.
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Gilles Tibo is one of Quebec’s most talented and prolific artists. Self-taught, he began drawing in childhood and by the age of seventeen was already finding publishers for his work. He is the recipient of many awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Best Illustration in Canada and the Owl Prize in Japan. The International Board on Books for Young People has named Gilles Tibo Canada’s candidate for the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration for 1998, an award that recognizes an artist’s body of work.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6 Up Tibo's stagy illustrations, lightly misted and suffused with a mildly eerie inner glow, form an adequate accompaniment to Poe's famous paean to idyllic love lost. Ignoring the vacant-eyed faces of the children, one can even admire the modulation of the artist's palette, as the initial pastels change to a darkling combination of blues and blacks complementing the downward spiral of the text. The real question, however, is not one of synchronizing words and pictures but of choice: why illustrate this particular poem at all, let alone in picture book format? The language is certainly vivid enough to evoke its own images, unaided by artistic intervention. Although ``Annabel'' has doubtless plucked many a prepubescent heart string (when longing for lost love may seem much less threatening than hanky panky in the last row at the local movie theater), these illustrations are too young for that age group. And what the post-sandbox set could or would make of ``sepulcher there by the sea/ In her tomb by the sounding sea,'' is something else altogether. Such expenditure of artistic effort should be preceded by educated selection. Kristi Thomas Beavin, Arlington County Public Library, Va.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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