The Laziest Boy in the World

Lensey Namioka, Author, YongSheng Xuan, Illustrator, Xuan YongSheng, Illustrator Holiday House $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1330-0
Sloth does not a chipper tale make, at least not in this sluggishly paced story. As a baby, Xiaolong doesn't cry or kick much, ""because it was too much work."" In boyhood, washing his face proves so taxing that he cleans the left side one day and the right side the next (""There was usually a dirty stripe down the center of his face""). But while Namioka (The Loyal Cat) finds opportunity for amusing anecdotes in Xiaolong's lethargy, there is something inescapably sad and pathetic about him. Too long in arriving, the tale's turning point occurs after a thief creeps into the house one night and rouses Xiaolong to anger--and action. Xuan (Ten Suns: A Chinese Legend), using a combination of acrylics, watercolor, pen and colored pencil, gives Xiaolong's face a range of unorthodox expressions, but the task of rendering an almost inert hero seems to daunt him, too. Xiaolong ends up looking like someone who's mentally challenged as well as physically slow--in other words, like someone parents won't want their children to laugh at. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
Genre: Children's
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