One Day

Enchanted Lion. Feb. 2021. 48p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781592703135.
K-Gr 2–A young boy finds that “Grandpa went away.” Though his shoes are in the closet, his work is still waiting (a close-up illustration reveals the tools of his trade as a tailor), and acquaintances ask how Grandpa is doing, there are only poignant reminders instead of explanations of where or why the grandfather is gone. “I mean, he always tapped me on the head with his fist when I didn’t say goodbye properly.” As the boy struggles to understand his absence, he falls asleep in his grandfather’s shop and dreams of him at work in a surreally illustrated night space amidst floating buttons, a moon draped in thread, a floating shoe and hat. He awakens to conclude that his grandfather is “someplace beyond the night sky and across the universe.” Matte, two-dimensional illustrations in a muted color palette dominated by black, gray, and shades of brown reinforce the theme of melancholy and mourning. The abrupt ending and the perfunctory sentence structure may have suffered in translation. There is a confusing transition when the sentence “he must have come from some place far, far away” is immediately preceded by the phrase repeated throughout, that the grandfather is gone.
VERDICT While a young boy grapples very literally with the absence of his grandfather, the abstract representation of death may raise more questions than answers.

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