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)