Slog's Dad

David Almond and Dave McKean, Candlewick, $15.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4940-1
Another haunting and beautiful book from the U.K. team that produced The Savage in 2008. Almond, winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award, has written a pitch-perfect story about a boy who believes that his father has returned to visit him, as he promised he would do before his death. The volume is richly and poetically illustrated by McKean (The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish), who offers gorgeous sequences that intercut with the text, showing a boy assembling a paper man, removing the balloon head from a scarecrow, and reading a superhero comic. These visual excursions illustrate events that are not narrated in the text but that add fullness and dimension to the character, drawing out the grieving boy's emotional state by showing us the melancholy, hopeful fantasy world he inhabits. Through narration from a skeptical friend, Davie, the reader is allowed to question Slog's experience while believing in it, too. The concise story opens a window onto the boy's enormous loss by narrating a single, puzzling event. McKean's images are edgy and startling, helping to create a stunning match of them with the words. Ages 7–up. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
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