by Heena Baek; illustrated by Heena Baek; translated by Sophie Bowman
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 2021
A child finds connection to the world all around in this Korean import.
The illustrations in this unusual picture book achieve a 3-D effect reminiscent of claymation. The opening scene shows an aerial view of a playground scattered with maple and gingko leaves; a tethered dog watches a child aiming at marbles. Accustomed to spending time alone and solitary play, Tong Tong’s fertile imagination infuses a bag of assorted spherical hard candies with powers that give voice to unlikely speakers, such as the living room sofa and Marbles the old dog, each speaking with Tong Tong to share a feels perspective. The hard candies also channel the tough love hidden within Tong Tong’s father and Grandma’s bubbly, reassuring voice emanating from another realm. The candies’ magic reveals yet another dimension when Tong Tong is drawn outdoors to witness nature’s beauty as copious falling leaves bid farewell to the season. Through these uncanny exchanges, Tong Tong not only makes surprising discoveries, but also delves into complex emotions, celebrates a continuing relationship with Grandma, and takes courageous steps toward a tantalizing conclusion. The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective, featuring details some may find initially unsettling—along with the cryptic, open-ended narrative. That said, depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder.
An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.
(Picture book. 6-9)
Ad Date: Sep. 1, 2021
Page Count: 48
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021
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