This story from Lê (Let Me Finish!
), about a Thai-speaking grandfather and his assimilated American grandson, testifies to the mighty power of art. The opening sequence shows the boy getting dropped off by his mother and glumly ringing his grandfather’s doorbell. A gulf of age and language separates the two. Though the grandfather is dressed in Western clothes, he puts his hands together in a traditional Thai greeting. In the panel artwork that follows, the grandfather’s speech appears in Thai script, the boy’s in English. In despair, the boy pulls out his sketchbook and draws a boy wizard with a peaked hat. Grandfather, it turns out, can draw, too. His wizard, clothed in magnificent Thai ceremonial garb, is a showstopper. A phantasmagoric duel begins: “All the things we could never say come pouring out.” Santat’s work dazzles with layers of color, exquisitely worked traditional designs, and ambitious scale. With the grandfather drawing in his idiom and the boy in his, the two defeat the dragon of difference that separates them and discover that they do not need to be able to speak in order to communicate. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. Illustrator’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (June)