illus. by Marie-Louise Gay. 40p. Groundwood. Aug. 2018. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781773061382.
OrangeReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—A young boy has traveled a long way to this new country from his old one, where the trees were dusty and gray and there was not a lot of extra food. But here, in this new country, people feed the birds and the squirrels, and the trees magically turn from lush green to bright jewel-toned colors. Mustafa is amazed by all he sees around him and learns about the culture of this new place through observation; but when he tries to engage with a little wave or a smile, he goes unnoticed. Mustafa wonders if he is invisible, but his mother assures him that he is not. One day, a little girl that Mustafa has observed multiple times in the park reaches out to him, making a connection and a lasting impression. This latest from Gay is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book for elementary-aged children. The story of a young boy moving to an unfamiliar place and finding his way, even when another language is spoken, is one that all children should hear. His experience is one that many kids can relate to and others should be aware of. Mustafa is brave and courageous, putting himself out there to learn about the world around him and make a new friend. The mixed-media illustrations are drawn delicately but filled in with rich, bold colors. Even young children not yet able to read will be able to look at the pictures, follow the story line, and feel the emotions.
VERDICT One for the must-be-purchased list.

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