by & illustrated by
Age Range: 12 & up
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Picking up where Kampung Boy (2006) left off, adorable Mat is now ten years old and has moved from his small village to the bustling town of Ipoh. He and his new best friend—Freddie, a young Chinese boy—are bonded instantly by their love of rock-’n’-roll music. As the narrative follows the boys through seven years of their friendship during the 1960s, the pair faces the usual trials and tribulations of teen life—like girls and schoolwork—portrayed through lavishly ebullient cityscapes. Lat uses text sparingly and juxtaposes it in smart synchrony to the illustrations, providing ample time to linger over the details. As in his earlier work, Lat’s eye for perspective dazzles, firmly thrusting the reader into his richly composed settings. The meticulous renderings of the boys’ childhoods make way to boxier, controlled scenes as the boys age. Though well-done, there is little explanation of the Malaysian words or customs throughout the narrative, and fonts change often and without explanation, both of which may be disjointing to readers. While visually stimulating, this volume is less charming and captivating than its predecessor. (Graphic novel. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59643-331-1
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2007