This little tale of a Vietnamese family begins in a simple way. “In a fishing village by the sea there is a small house,” the first double-page spread reads. To the left, a fisherman stands in his boat, looking up at the house, which sits high on a cliff. We can’t see his face, but his posture and upturned glance suggest wistfulness. Around him other fishermen ply the waters in their own small boats. If you look closely, you can see a white-yellow dog making its way up the steep, winding path to the house. April Chu’s serene, intensely detailed artwork offers a lovely and fully realized scene, and invites us into an equally well-calibrated story by the Vietnamese-born Muon Van. Together, they’ve made a picture book that’s somehow both modest and captivating.
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Image source The New York Times.