Since Dad Left

Caroline Binch, Author, Caroline Binch, Author Millbrook Press $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7613-0290-2
Binch's (Amazing Grace) expressive watercolors lift this fairly well-trod tale of a boy's unhappiness about his parents separation several notches above most. Sid lives with his mother and their pets; his father maintains a gypsy lifestyle complete with homemade yurt, milk goats, a horse and cart for transportation and a collection of offbeat friends who like to play music by moonlight. When Sid grudgingly agrees to spend a night with him, the boy's wounded feelings and simmering anger abate in the face of his father's quiet, steadfast love. While the text is a bit heavy-handed in spots (""Sid wanted to hit [his father] as hard as he could--but give him a big hug at the same time""), Binch authentically zeroes in on the conflicting emotions that a parental breakup can elicit. The book's real strength, however, is the artwork. Binch displays complete mastery of her medium through her use of color, through the interplay of light and shadow, and in her exquisite brushwork. Like wind riffling across water, her paintings convey every emotional shift in the faces of her characters, allowing readers unrestricted access to the story's compassionate core. This picture book may not break new ground thematically, but what it lacks in subtlety it more than makes up for in sensitivity. Ages 5-9. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1998
Release date: 04/01/1998
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 32 pages - 978-0-7613-0357-2
Paperback - 5 pages - 978-0-19-833892-5
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-7112-1355-5
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