One word : maybe, and the exquisite illustration on the book's cover grabbed my attention as I was inhaling the delightful sight of book in my dear wife's bookstore - The Thinking Spot. I thought, as I usually do: "it might be fun to read this book sometime... later", and moved on to my mission - to curate a few books on Artificial Intelligence for the new book club I was starting. Yet, the book cover of maybe kept popping up in my mind while I was trying to decide which books to choose for the club. maybe was calling me, increasingly compelling me to pick it up. Finally, unable to work on the book club task, I decided to quickly skim through the picture book and be done with it.
It is a picture book for 4 to8-year-olds. How long would it take for me? 5 minutes tops I thought. Was I WRONG! A good half hour later, I found myself still obsessed with the words and the illustrations, going over and over those pages and words - not because they were so many, but, in fact, they were so few and so good. The thoughtfully chosen words, evocative sentences, and storyline on each page set my imagination on fire, sending me on pathways so enticing. I became a child again, realizing how wonderful life is, the immense potential we all have. Kobi Yamada, an author, I had not heard about, has this unique gift of inspiring the reader's curiosity. I felt myself hanging out with the little girl and her cute piglet, imagining with them, staring into the space of my own mind. "Am I realizing my own endless potential?" . "Am I helping my loved ones reach their full potential?".
The illustrations. Oh, the exquisite illustrations.The mesmerizing illustrations! The illustrator's attention to detail is so precise that I found my mind becoming one with the butterflies, flitting among the delightful flora on the page. I found myself delighting at the stories that each of her brush strokes seems to tell. No wonder what I thought would be a 5-minute job to "get on with" ended up being an hour of getting lost in this book about wonder. What is more astonishing is that maybe is the illustrator, Gabriella Barouch's debut book. I am an engineer and not an artist. But, I recognize genius when I see one. It is difficult to describe my delight in seeing these illustrations. These prove to me that humans have endless potential. As an applied AI researcher, I play around with the up-and-coming AI's that can generate art. I get asked if AI is going to take over the world. Will artists be out of a job? NO. Gabriella Barouch's illustrations prove that while AI will help amateurs like me to generate art, we will appreciate the genius of human creativity even more.
If you are wondering, yes, this book is an award winner. Also, the fabulous Stages Theater has created an original play based on the book. The author Kobi Yamada, I found out, has written other books ( that I must read!), with one of them becoming a New York Times best seller. This one, maybe, is sure to be a bestseller too. And, Gabriella Barouch - she is going places.
Grab a copy for yourself. Read the book, over and over again, to your young ones. Gift a copy to your loved ones.
maybe, just maybe, you will exceed in your wildest dreams... - Kobi Yamada
...and suddenly, I realized that I knew which two AI books I am going to recommend to my book club!