Week-end Book Review: No One But You by Douglas Wood, illustrated by P. J. Lynch

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Douglas Wood, illustrated by P. J. Lynch,
No One But You
Candlewick Press, 2011.

Ages 6+

There’s something wonderful about stimulating the senses through the simplistic beauty that Mother Nature has created. In Douglas Wood’s children’s book, No One But You, people of all ages are invited to use their five senses to discover “many important things” because “the best things, the most important ones of all, are the ones no one can teach you or show you or explain. No one can discover them but you.”

An award-winning writer and author of the best-selling book Old Turtle, Wood once again highlights his fascination with nature, this time focusing on the happiness that comes with the simple things in life: dangling your feet in a pond, eating a strawberry, gazing at the stars, laughing and smiling with loved ones. There is a rhythmic feel to his writing and the repetition of the two words “no one” throughout the book lends an almost hypnotic quality. This, paired with P. J. Lynch’s beautiful oil illustrations, makes for a winning combination. Lynch, an acclaimed illustrator and two-time winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, has created images evocative of ones a parent would take of their own child, perhaps from the weekend getaway to the park or a camping trip by the lake. It encourages parents to contemplate whether they too can capture a loved one “set[ting] out to create their special place in the world.”

Younger children will be inspired by Wood’s beautifully crafted book, whether they set out to uncover the treasures of nature for the first time or they wish to share their enchantment with others. While this is a children’s book, adults can also take something away from the story. We live in an era where technology dominates every aspect of our lives, from how we socialize with others to how we shop. No One But You is a reminder that life is more than texting, emails, and sitting at a desk; it’s worthwhile to take time to slow down and enjoy what life and nature have to offer.

Keilin Huang
February 2012