cover image My Grandfather’s Song

My Grandfather’s Song

Phùng Nguyên Quang and Huỳnh Kim Liên. Make Me a World, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-48861-4

The married creators of My First Day follow their debut, per an authors’ note, with a story created “in tribute to the very first pioneers to the south of Vietnam.” In a lush jungle navigated by boat, Grandfather understands nature not as adversary but through metaphors of harmony and accompaniment. “This is music, and we must learn the song,” Grandfather tells narrating child Ti. Crisp-edged, brilliantly colored spreads focus on broad skies as Grandfather builds a home and begins to cultivate rice. Large animals worked into the art—a tiger, a turtle—personify the landscape’s power, as well as a way to approach it (“Make the song a shell and wrap it around you, hard as a turtle”). The elder’s gentle hand is always there, guiding Ti until the child learns to see nature as Grandfather does, as “an instrument that, with time, gives us rice, fresh water to drink, a harmony of plenty.” It’s a vivid testament to working with, instead of against, the natural world. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)