Peter Sís, who grew up in Soviet-Bloc Czechoslovakia and has lived in the United States since 1982, has made a specialty of chronicling the lives of maverick outsiders from Galileo to Darwin. He first told bits and pieces of his own coming-of-age story in “The Wall,” but the autobiographical “Robinson” is a more intimate, child’s-eye view of a schoolboy’s struggles to navigate the treacherous crosscurrents of self and society. It is hard not to feel for this child.
In his illustrations for “Robinson,” Sís reprises long-time favorite graphic maneuvers—arresting bird’s eye perspectives, imaginary landscapes that double as maps of themselves—while also showing a new interest in color that mirrors the story’s heightened emotional urgency. Growing up, these evocative images imply, can feel a lot like being lost at sea, but the imagination is a good map to steer by.
Leonard S. Marcus, New York Times