Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - The Only Child

Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Review - The Only Child

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About the Book
Like Shaun Tan's The Arrival and Raymond Briggs's The Snowman, this gorgeous and imaginative 100-page graphic picture book is utterly transporting and original.

A little girl—lost and alone—follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world. But . . . home and family are very far away. How will she get back there?

In this magnificently illustrated—and wordless—masterpiece, debut artist Guojing brilliantly captures the rich and deeply-felt emotional life of a child, filled with loneliness and longing as well as love and joy.

My Take on the Book
Guojing has written an introduction to the reader about her life as an only child living in China in the 1980's when families were only allowed one child. She shows through her drawings the loneliness and isolation she felt as a child. One event in her life is illustrated in this book: the day she was lost as she was taking a bus to see her grandmother. She was only 6 years old.

There are no written words in this book, but it is easy to see the story and to tell it as you "read " it. The author/illustrator shows the emotions of the characters so well in her drawings. She shows the child scared as she leaves the bus and now must find her grandmother's house. Guojing shows the comfort of the deer who becomes her friend until she is safely delivered to her parents. You see the emotions of the parents too. There is joy with the little girl's animal friends but it is also sad because once they leave her with her parents she is an only child again.

It is a beautifully illustrated and told story. It is one you can tell over and over again and tell it differently each time someone else interprets the illustrations.

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