|Call of the swamp|
Author: Cali, Davide
Boris, a swamp creature who was adopted by human parents, starts to question where he truly belongs.
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/17)
School Library Journal (09/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2017 PreS-Gr 2—Readers will never encounter a more likable and endearing creature than this swamp baby. Neither had Boris's parents, who struggled with infertility and happened upon him during a remote drive. "When the couple found a newborn at the edge of the swamp, it seemed like a gift from heaven, and they paid no attention to the fact that he had gills like a fish." Boris's sinuous sea-fanlike hair and his mangrove in a jar don't hinder him from making friends, attending school, and doing other kid things. But the mangrove begins losing leaves and the scent of the swamp lures Boris. He begins asking questions like, "Why did you take me home, Mom?" and "Why didn't you leave me where I was?" A return to the swamp is predictable in a way that will make young children feel safe, but adventuresome at the same time. Boris eventually comes to the profound realization, "Maybe our family is simply the ones we love? And the ones who love us back?" Translated from Italian, Watkinson's work feels smooth and natural without any bumps or glitches. Somà brings rich golden and deep teal hues to to the gray-browns of the swamp. Muted earth tones feel magical rather than muddy. Parents will hold back the tears as mom and dad give Boris the space to discover his identity and little ones will relate to stretching one's wings and learning to make choices. VERDICT At home on the shelf with Suzanna Lopez's The Best Family in the World, Cali's tender text is an even more honest look at the real emotions of adoptees. Best shared one-on-one.—Kristy Kilfoyle, Canterbury School, Fort Myers, FL - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/15/2017 Boris doesn’t look like his parents, a pair of humans who definitely don’t have gills. Boris more closely resembles an axolotl, with frilled red appendages emerging from his pink, round face. But his parents love him regardless, and he’s mostly happy. One day, though, he catches the smell of the swamp on the wind, and he realizes he doesn’t quite belong in the human world, so he follows his nose back home. But is the swamp really home? Somà’s delicate, fine-lined artwork, in an evocative blend of dusky blues, foggy grays, and warm natural hues, combines realistic renderings of birds, wildlife, and architecture with dreamlike images, like luminescent underwater flowers or Boris’ house sitting atop tree branches and inside a giant bottle. The whimsical, otherworldly nature of the illustrations nicely matches Cali’s fablelike text, particularly Boris, who manages to look very childlike despite his salamander head. The warm conclusion, that family is made up of people who love you, even if they don’t look like you, is a cozy one ideal for kids who feel like outsiders. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.