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Drawn together
2018
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Trade Reviews

  New York Times Review

ATTICUS FINCH: The Biography, by Joseph Crespino. (Basic Books, $27.) This biography of the much-loved fictional character from Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" brings to life the inconsistencies of the South and of Lee's father, who was the model for the real Atticus. BEARSKIN, by James A. McLaughlin. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $26.99.) Terrible things are happening to black bears in this debut mystery set in western Virginia. And the humans facing off against the novel's ex-con hero, now charged with protecting a wilderness preserve, are just as terrible. THE WORLD AS IT IS: A Memoir of the Obama White House, by Ben Rhodes. (Random House, $30.) In this humane and amiable insider's account of the Obama years, Rhodes traces his intellectual evolution as a key adviser to the president. Starry-eyed at the beginning, he learns to temper his idealism, but in a crass political era, he impressively avoids becoming a cynic. TYRANT: Shakespeare on Politics, by Stephen Greenblatt. (Norton, $21.95.) The noted Shakespeare scholar finds parallels between our political world and that of the Elizabethans - and in his catalog of the plays' tyrannical characters, locates some very familiar contemporary types. THERE THERE, by Tommy Orange. (Knopf, $25.95.) Orange's devastatingly beautiful debut novel, about a group of characters converging on the San Francisco Bay Area for an event called the "Big Oakland Powwow," explores what it means to be an urban Native American. A VIEW OF THE EMPIRE AT SUNSET, by Caryl Phillips. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) Set in England, France and the Caribbean, Phillips's fragmented novel uses the difficult, lonely life of the half-Welsh, half-West-Indian writer Jean Rhys (author of "Wide Sargasso Sea") to explore themes of alienation, colonialism and exile. THE MORALIST: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made, by Patricia O'Toole. (Simon & Schuster, $35.) O'Toole focuses on the public deeds of a president who has become a source of almost endless controversy. She describes a politician deft at shifting his views to gain power and achieve important reforms. PURE HOLLYWOOD: And Other Stories, by Christine Schutt. (Grove, $23.) These expert stories by a Pulitzer finalist are awash in money, lush foliage and menace, in prose so offbeat it's revelatory. DRAWN TOGETHER, by Minh Le. Illustrated by Dan Santat. (Hyperion, $17.99; ages 4 to 8.) In this picture book, a boy and his grandpa, who doesn't speak English, sit glumly until they begin to draw a comic-book epic together, bridging the language and generational divide in a way that's at once touching and thrilling. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books

  Publishers Weekly Review

This story from Lê (Let Me Finish!), about a Thai-speaking grandfather and his assimilated American grandson, testifies to the mighty power of art. The opening sequence shows the boy getting dropped off by his mother and glumly ringing his grandfather's doorbell. A gulf of age and language separates the two. Though the grandfather is dressed in Western clothes, he puts his hands together in a traditional Thai greeting. In the panel artwork that follows, the grandfather's speech appears in Thai script, the boy's in English. In despair, the boy pulls out his sketchbook and draws a boy wizard with a peaked hat. Grandfather, it turns out, can draw, too. His wizard, clothed in magnificent Thai ceremonial garb, is a showstopper. A phantasmagoric duel begins: "All the things we could never say come pouring out." Santat's work dazzles with layers of color, exquisitely worked traditional designs, and ambitious scale. With the grandfather drawing in his idiom and the boy in his, the two defeat the dragon of difference that separates them and discover that they do not need to be able to speak in order to communicate. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. Illustrator's agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

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. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens - with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.
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