Drawn Together by Minh Lê | SLJ Review

PreS-Gr 2 –An American-born child tells about his visit to his grandfather.

redstarLÊ, Minh. Drawn Together. illus. by Dan Santat. 40p. Disney-Hyperion. Jun. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484767603.

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

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.

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