A Thai boy finds comfort in a Buddhist tale while adjusting to life in Chicago.
Young “Krit love[s] his home” in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He and his dog, Mu, run alongside temple stairs and duck “under dragon fruit carts in the market, past papaya and longans and red rambutans.” While celebrating the festival of lights, Krit releases his banana-leaf boat lighted with a candle on the river with his single wish: “Let nothing change.” Unfortunately, that night, his mother informs him the family is moving to Chicago to help with family business. The digitally painted grayscale city shrouded in snow proves a jarring change from the bright sunbathed colors of Thailand. Krit attempts to re-create familiar scenes, walking alongside the icy river and visiting markets only to be scolded by guards and staff for bringing his dog. Cold and dispirited, that night Krit requests a story from his mother, who tells a cryptic tale of Buddha's finding a place to build his temple. Straightforward narration reveals the next day is a more fruitful one when Krit meets Dahlia, a white girl playing with a toy boat in the river. With Dahlia’s friendship, Krit looks at Chicago with new eyes, realizing the moral of his mother’s story and the true meaning of home. Woo builds on simple shapes and rounded edges to provide bright characters with charming backdrops.
A welcome modern tale of immigration featuring a Thai protagonist. (Picture book. 5-9)