Keats captures layers of childlike, but never childish, emotions in Peter’s deceptively simple story. That the art is as nuanced and narrative as the words is awe-inspiring. When I began illustrating picture books, an editor handed me one of Ezra’s books and suggested that I try to ‘do something like HE does…you know, with collage.’ I was speechless. Why not hand me a trumpet and ask me to play like Miles? Ezra’s art is singular, an exquisitely personal aesthetic.
Looking at A Letter to Amy, it’s easy to succumb to the textures and patterns, the glowing light in the rain-slicked streets and the changing palette that so aptly reflects Peter’s emotions. It’s the layers that keep the story lively throughout repeated readings. The scraps and graffiti suggest a story within the story. There are eyes in that headline! Is that a Macbeth poster on the wall behind Peter as he dashes to catch his windblown letter?
I love that something as simple as sending a letter can be shown to be so momentous. With his note, Peter expresses what seems to be lost today in emails and texts: ‘…it’s sort of special.’ Maybe it is because we communicate instantly and rely on emoticons that this book resonates. When was the last time you sent or received a handwritten letter? Lucky Amy.”