Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Only Child - Guojing

Title: The Only Child
Author: Guojing
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books (Random House), 2015 (Hardcover)
Length: 112 pages
Genre: Children's Graphic Novel/Picture Book
Started: March 17, 2016
Finished: March 17, 2016

From the inside cover:

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?

In this extraordinary wordless picture book, Guojing brilliantly captures the rich and deeply felt emotional life of a child - filled with loneliness and longing as well as love and joy.

I saw the cover and knew this had to be mine, the cuteness alone made me melt.

The story follows a little girl in China who leaves home to visit her grandmother and ends up lost in the woods. She meets a stag, who takes her to a world in the clouds with baby animals as playmates. The stag eventually locates her family and delivers her back home.

The plot is pretty simple, but this book is incredibly beautiful, partly because there is absolutely no text so everything is conveyed without words, and also because the drawings are shaded rather than coloured. I especially like the fact that the story takes place in the winter, so the snow makes everything especially magical. It makes for a very surreal, charming experience. The author used her experiences growing up under the one-child policy in China in the 80s to inspire this, and as a fellow only child, the loneliness and desire for companions comes across well.

So gorgeous, this is a great addition to anyone's library. This would make a great creative writing prompt to use in the classroom as well. 

Thoughts on the cover:
So beautiful, and the art on the inside is even better.

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