Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez Reviews

School Library Journal

Cover: Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez Author: Christiane Duchesne Illustrator: François Thisdale Publisher: Pajama Press“Children often notice things that adults do not, especially when they are out of the ordinary….The story line speaks to the reality of death in a whimsical way, introducing it by way of it occurring to someone known by the children in the book but not someone with whom they were particularly close. VERDICT Young children beginning to learn about the concept of death will find this book to be an easy introduction to this inevitability in their lives.”
—Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver Public Library

Read the full review in the November 2019 issue of School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

“[A] surreal allegory…Acrylic and digitally altered artwork by Thisdale (Poetree) offers crisp, photographic realism, with misty skies of purple and green that suggest atmospheric otherworldliness.”

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Kirkus Reviews

“Observed by village children, an elderly man prepares for death in this misty allegory.”

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CM Magazine

“The real magic of Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez is in the illustrations by Montrealer Francois Thisdale. The blue and grey backdrops of sky and sea are at once misty and luminous, grounded by the pretty shuttered buildings and the solid human figures, emphasizing the juxtaposition of the reality of a continental town with some pretty unusual plot elements.

Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez is a rather special picture book for larger collections.”
Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, British Columbia

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Though the children did not weep for their loss of Mister Rodriguez, knowing that he was happy, I wept. I wept for an extraordinary man whose time had come to pass to the other side but who eased the passage of others with him. Though there is much for young readers to interpret about Mister Rodriguez and his existence on this plane and the next, they will appreciate the richness he brought to the lives of children who took pleasure in ‘seeing’ him walk through or above the street, his cap low on his forehead, his bright red scarf a beacon of his brightness and his overcoat light billowing ‘as if he had clouds under’ it. Christiane Duchesne’s text leaves open what the children actually see and what actually happened to Mister Rodriguez but still laces it with the heartfelt emotion of a dear friend’s passing.

Because of the surreal, perhaps supernatural, texture of Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez, François Thisdale’s illustrations, created with acrylic and digital media, have the perfect blend of the ethereal and the realistic. The foggy coastal town is ghostly with its overhanging mist and crashing waves and a man who may be intangible….

Picture books about death and dying are plentiful and all aim to help children understand loss and grief. But Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez presents the concept of death in a wholly unique fashion, leaving open what happens after we leave the physical world. Mister Rodriguez, along with a lovely assortment of companions, may transition from one world to the next under the watchful of a group of children but it’s evident that his life is far greater than just a physical presence in this world.”
—Helen K

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