Graduation Day

Piotr Parda. Ripple Grove (SPU, dist.), $18.99 (52p) ISBN 978-0-9913866-7-3
Early on in this wordless tale, one of a group of smirking schoolchildren blows a small projectile—a spitball?—across several pages until it hits a girl with stick-straight hair and thick glasses. For a moment, she frowns. Then she pockets the object and joins a line of children dressed in caps and gowns; it’s graduation day. When the ceremony is over, the girl opens her locker, takes the object out of her pocket and puts it in a jar. It’s a sunflower seed, and the jar is full of them; the bullies have been shooting them at her for months, apparently. In this lovely fable, readers discover her plan for all those seeds. Though this is a tale about bullying, Parda (The Gentleman Bat) resists the urge to moralize. Instead, he creates a character who responds to aggression with quiet resourcefulness, and without involving grownups or attempting vengeance. His watercolor and monoprint spreads recall Satoshi Kitamura; they’re built on warm, expressive black lines, making even the girl’s dreary school, with its cracked tiles and metal doors, worth a closer look. Ages 5–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
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