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María José Ferrada and Mariana Alcántara
Translated from the Spanish by Kit Maude
Based on the premise that every species has a recurring dream, Swimmers takes the reader on a surreal, dream-state adventure.
"Fish dream of becoming Olympic swimmers … Olympic swimmers dream that they’re fish.
It’s a very unlikely dream."
Swimmers uses humor and poetry to show the reader how a page can be a deep, blue sea or an Olympic swimming pool, and blurs the line between what is and isn’t possible. Filled with quirky text and amusing illustrations of sturgeons in swimwear and tuna taking the gold, Swimmers merges the worlds of fish and people in this English-language translation of an entirely original book.
A 100 Scope Notes Most Astonishingly Unconventional Book of 2022
Selected for the BRAW Amazing Bookshelf at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy, 2022
9.05” (W) x 11.81” (H) • 32 pages • Hardcover
★“The story is nonlinear, but the form supports the idea that water is a place of play and possibility. The normal formal rules we live by don’t apply here — we see a clock half-submerged in a fishbowl, fish in swimsuits and swimmers with fins, indicating a fluid interplay between worlds.”—The New York Times
★“Every species has a recurring dream. Fish? Their dream is to be Olympic swimmers. This book explores that surreal idea through straightforward text and beautiful illustrations."—100 Scope Notes
★“…a gently absurdist excursion that turns a human wish—Olympic swimmers/ dream that they’re fish—on its head…Debut creator Alcántara imagines an alternate universe of Olympic training that brims with quiet humor. Humans, fish, and droll human-fish hybrids smudged in lithograph-like grays stroke and kick and plunge through white pages that function visually as water. But instead of Olympian strength and endurance, the artist’s sly underwater civilization is driven by creativity, invention, and hope.”—Publishers Weekly
★“Unlikely dreams take shape in this unusual picture book about fish that want to be Olympic swimmers. María José Ferrada (How to Order the Universe) humorously imagines all that is required to achieve such an unlikely ambition and Mariana Alcántara's illustrations reinforce the absurdity and the joy in this whimsical fancy… Ferrada's anthropomorphic fish provide a playful vehicle for a tale centered around having seemingly unrealistic goals: Every species has a recurring dream, after all. The poetic, oddly pragmatic nature of the text sets a languid pace, mirrored in the strokes of the swimming characters… Ferrada and Alcántara's nonsensical story (translated effectively from the original Spanish by Kit Maude) is a lovely, visually intriguing tale about the dream that slips away every morning and the anticipation of it returning again and again.”—Shelf Awareness