Brightest — Johann de Venecia, Joanne Chrisner, Josephine Litonjua
Albeit the audience target of this book, that is, those under the children’s umbrella—Brightest isn’t merely a tale that could charm its way over a child’s defiant whims; but one that could surely exhume a vulnerable chunk of yourself.
There is more to it than just cartoon and words.
One must not read black and white so as to crack the meat, but one must look right through the prose’s sheer simplicity. What does a firefly catcher doing asking directions from a nearby firefly? Should the firefly have fled at the sight of the catcher? Lean back and reflect for a moment. What if the firefly and the firefly catcher are one and the same? Only segmented into two different pieces?
We can assume that the firefly catcher is lost; lost not just in the sense of literal direction, but lost in his determined course in life. A drape of ambiguity clogs his desire, forming a hazy panorama that shortly surfaced into doubts. Appearing next to the slumbering firefly and asking for the right direction translates into his self-confrontation. But similar to the firefly’s apathy, this self-confrontation of his isn’t greatly reinforced just as yet. A little lift, a little push, and the goal comes to life:
“All at once, the firefly felt a jolt surging through his frail body. His wings flapped open from his back, and his dying star has suddenly sparkled to life!”
Whilst the reawakening might have yielded a remarkable advent, another setback sets in. The firefly catcher dreads that he won’t find his way home all by himself. The firefly plucks his star, offers it to his very anxious company, and tells him that the star will guide him to where he belongs—signifying the importance of finding your own destiny, that you alone can fulfill your heart’s desire.
However lightweight; however meager the slivers of paper, and brief the encounter with words—Brightest still gleams in comparison to other tomes simply because of the underlying message seeping through its pages. The illustrations even resonates a poignant milieu, achieving the perfect touches of an outstanding book.
A big shoutout to the publisher, Josephine Litonjua, for providing me a copy. 🙂