YUGEN by Mark Reibstein

YUGEN

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 12
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Step into a dream of a story by the team that created Wabi Sabi (2008).

Reibstein and Young reunite in this sophisticated, dreamy, lyrical tribute to maternal love and loss, the eternity of memories, and the power of nature to depict human emotions. The narrator is a child named Eugene but whose mother calls him Yugen. An author’s note explains Yugen means “subtle or profound” in Japanese, an apt description for the poetry and artwork in this book. Yugen’s mother is from Japan and traveled there once, while Yugen stayed behind, but they remained close by glimpsing a star in the sky together. Eventually the mother leaves again, though the exact reason is not explained, and the child wishes upon the moon that she return soon. Simple, smudged charcoal lines against yellow-beige textured backgrounds portray form rather than expression—the outlines of a child’s face, a mother and child in the bath, a cat against a dark night sky, and more. Spare stanzas gently recount remembrances amid this great loss. Cherry blossoms fall, as tears must do, starlight on snow, evoking the sadness of a child left behind. This unconventional picture book offers opportunities to discuss poetic form, Japanese culture and customs, artistic style, and storytelling—making this book perfect for older readers as well.

Beauty is ever present in this book, amid loss and mystery. (Picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-60980-865-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2018




MORE BY ED YOUNG

ChildrenMIGHTY MOBY by Ed Young
by Ed Young
ChildrenNIGHTTIME NINJA by Barbara DaCosta
by Barbara DaCosta
ChildrenA STRANGE PLACE TO CALL HOME by Marilyn Singer
by Marilyn Singer

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE CAT FROM HUNGER MOUNTAIN by Ed Young
by Ed Young
ChildrenONE LEAF RIDES THE WIND by Celeste Davidson Mannis
by Celeste Davidson Mannis
ChildrenZEN SHORTS by Jon J Muth
by Jon J Muth