February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teacup by Rebecca Young | SLJ Review

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redstarYOUNG, Rebecca. Teacup. illus. by Matt Ottley. 40p. Dial. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735227774.

teacupPreS-Gr 3 –In this moving, allegorical tale, a young boy searches for a new homeland, taking with him only a book, bottle, blanket, and teacup full of earth from where he used to play. His solo sea journey is fraught with danger, and loneliness plagues him in the dark. The child finds comfort in the way the whales sing to one another, stirring memories of how his mother used to call him in for tea. In time, a sturdy apple tree grows in his teacup and provides shelter, shade, and food. After the boy puts down roots in a new land, hope and friendship appear on the horizon when a girl with a broken eggcup arrives. Ottley’s exquisite, expansive oil paintings of the small boy in his boat, bravely rowing against roiling waves, capture a vulnerable aloneness. The language is spare and poetic, and many words and images will linger with readers, inspiring reflection and empathy: “The way the clouds slowly swam into view/reminded him of how things/can change/with a whisper.” VERDICT A beautifully crafted story that’s perfect for sharing aloud and discussing with a small group.–Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ont., Canada

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2016 issue.

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