The Children’s Book Review | June 29, 2014
By Kobi Yamada; Illustrated by Mae Besom
Hardcover: 36 pages
Age Range: 4-8
Publisher: Compendium, Inc., February 2014
What to expect: Inspiration, Artful Illustrations, Encouragement, Creativity
Once in a while, a picture book comes along and challenges every reader to recalibrate their expectations on what a picture book can deliver and accomplish. The books in this category contain creativity, mindfulness, complexity, masterful illustrations, and arresting inspiration. What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom, is one such picture book.
What Do You Do With An Idea? is about a boy who has an idea, illustrated as a golden crowned egg with legs. The boy wonders about the peculiar golden biped; its origins, its purpose, its place in the world. The boy was uncomfortable, he was unsure what to do with the idea and so he tried to deny its existence. But the idea was persistent and would not leave, in fact it seemed to be growing and eventually, the boy got used to having this idea around. As the boy becomes more comfortable with the idea, he tentatively starts sharing it with others. Many laughed at the peculiar looking idea, as the boy suspected they would, but the boy perseveres. Becoming more confident, the boy decides to ignore his detractors and nurture and love the idea, to the point where he can’t imagine life without it. The boy discovers his idea gives him the feeling of being alive and also perspective on seeing life differently. With the boy’s attention and dedication, the idea beautifully changes the world and permanently becomes part of everything around him.
Mae Besom’s delicate illustrations in What Do You Do With An Idea? are a perfect accompaniment to Kobi Yamada’s beautiful narrative and message. As the story begins and the idea is introduced, the pages are expertly illustrated in pencil, with striking depth and light. There is little use of color in the beginning but as the boy begins to warm to the idea, more color is introduced. Still, it’s clear as the narrative suggests, that the boy has not completely embraced his idea. Finally, when the boy accepts the idea, the world changes and color is everywhere and alive on the pages. The color progression is a brilliant way to portray the ascension of the idea’s importance in the boy’s life.
The message in What Do You Do With An Idea? is clear-welcome and nurture ideas with patience and persistence, no matter how big or small, no matter how unique or popular, and they may grow to change the world. It’s a message that’s been shared before by teachers, business leaders, parents and mentors. What makes this message so unique is the simple but beautiful way it’s delivered, in narrative and illustration, through the eyes and voice of an innocent and hopeful child. What Do You Do With An Idea? is a spectacular book for all ages and is a wonderful treasure for any home or school library.
Add this book to your collection: What Do You Do With An Idea?
About the Author
Kobi Yamada is the creator of many inspiring gift books and ideas as well as the President of Compendium, a company of amazing people doing amazing things. He happily lives with the love of his life and their two super fun kids in the land of flying salmon where he gets to believe in his ideas all day long. He thinks he just might be the luckiest person on the planet.
About the Illustrator
Mae Besom began her career as a character designer in Sichuan, China after graduating from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. She then decided to embrace her love of illustration and now works as a full-time children’s illustrator. She uses traditional media-both pencil and watercolor-to create texture and light within her enchanting illustrations.
Readers May Also Enjoy
The World Belongs To You By Riccardo Bozzi, Illustrated by Olimpia Zagnoli (Templar, March 2013)
Anything Is Possible By Guilia Belloni, Illustrated by Marco Trevisan (Owlkids Books, August 2013)
For Just One Day By Laura Leuck, Illustrated by Marc Boutavant (Chronicle Books, August 2009)