Author: Le, Minh
A boy and his grandfather cross a language and cultural barrier using their shared love of art, storytelling, and fantasy.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 2.10
Points: .5 Quiz: 195323
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/01/18)
School Library Journal (+) (06/01/18)
Booklist (+) (06/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/06/18)
The Hornbook (00/07/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2018 PreS-Gr 2—An American-born child tells about his visit to his grandfather. Their meeting is awkward at first since the boy doesn't speak Thai; the older man doesn't speak English. The reluctant narrator's entrance into his grandfather's home begins before the title page and continues wordlessly in a series of panels. Different foods and television programs exacerbate their inability to communicate verbally, all depicted in spare text and panels of translucent illustrations. The boy gives up talking, instead opening his backpack to pull out a sketch of a superhero. He is surprised when his grandfather's sketchbook reveals another superhero, which leads them to discover "a world beyond words." The boy and his grandfather connect when creating an artful world: one colorful, childlike; the other in sophisticated black-and-white line drawings. When the magic seems to dissipate, a dragon enters and appears to separate them—but once again the pair is drawn together in a satisfying conclusion that requires few if any words. VERDICT This handsomely illustrated book is perfectly paced to express universal emotions that connect generations separated by time, experience, and even language. It is sure to appeal widely on many levels.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2018 *Starred Review* When a young Asian American boy visits his Thai-speaking grandfather, despite granddad’s best efforts—a hot dog for dinner, control of the TV remote—the language barrier and the generational divide seem insurmountable. Until, that is, the boy brings out his paper and markers and they’re matched by his grandfather’s sketchbook and paintbrush. Together, they’re drawn into a vibrant world of boy wizards and mythical Thai warriors, and “all the things we could never say come pouring out.” They discover each other in imaginary battle against a fearsome dragon, before the end of the evening heralds a new beginning for them both. Lê’s poignant and deeply meaningful tale is rocketed into the stratosphere by Santat’s dynamic and playful visuals, imaginatively conceived and action-packed even as they potently evoke the culture they’re drawn from. Beneath the dynamism, Santat matches the more delicate emotions the story hinges on; one glance at the boy’s face, dreading what’s ahead of him as he waits for his grandfather to answer the door, attests to this. The writer-artist collaboration’s success is also on display in subtle visual representation of the shifting relationship, as when the boy and grandfather, coming together in a final battle, exchange artistic “weapons.” Focus on an underrepresented culture; highly accessible emotions; concise, strong storytelling; and artistic magnificence make this a must-have. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.