An illustrated series of observations on life and living translated from the Chinese, with audio available online.
Each double-page spread by author/illustrator Jiu Er features a quiet observation by a small pig named Little Sun. Little Sun’s best friend is Little Mouse, and many of the observations (they may be diary entries; it’s not entirely clear) are addressed directly to her. They run the gamut from supportive (“We have to trust our friends / who can help us / overcome our fears!”) to odd (“An artist by the name of Jiu Er / came to see me. She was very sad”) and don’t organize themselves into an overall storyline but rather remain unconnected. The entries address accepting sadness, being grateful for what you have, looking out for others, and downplaying individual achievement (“Nothing to brag about— / I haven’t done / anything exceptional. / I simply borrowed / some beauty from / these lovely flowers”), which Western readers may find dampening if not confusing. Accompanying these observations are gentle illustrations in a soft palette that feature anthropomorphic Little Sun and Little Mouse, their anthropomorphic friends, and some Wild Things–esque monsters. The illustrations are competent, but the overall impression is one of soft blandness (although the Chinese characters on some of the details are intriguing). The audio (accessed online) features a female narrator and musical accompaniment.
Soft, unsurprising illustrations accompany quiet (many with adult sensibilities) musings on life. (Picture book. 5-8)