Krit Dreams of Dragon Fruit: A Story of Leaving and Finding Home

Bala Kids. Mar. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781611807752.
PreS-Gr 2–Chiang Mai, Thailand, is a city filled with things Krit loves: sweet fruit, the glittering temples and statues, and his friends. Then Krit and his mother move to Chicago and the young boy struggles to adapt to the snow-covered city. Through the wisdom of an oral story about Buddha building a temple, Krit finally finds the true meaning of home. Along the lines of a parable, the simplistic narrative encourages readers to discuss what they would do if they were in Krit’s shoes. An authors’ note provides information about the story, taken from an uncited koan collection. According to Becher and France, who practice Buddhism and Zen respectively, koans are meant to be experienced, thought about, and internalized. Unfortunately, the moralistic narrative also bypasses many real world concerns, such as why the family had to move, as well as any mention of learning a new language. The digital illustrations, using bright, sunny colors to contrast Chiang Mai with Chicago’s wintery greys and whites, are pleasing and geographically specific, yet they fail to provide emotional depth. Exaggerated facial expressions add another overly earnest layer. Krit and his mother are depicted with dark, straight hair and fair skin.
VERDICT A secondary purchase for libraries looking to boost their picture book collection with stories that touch on nondominant religions/philosophies.

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