cover image Tall Boy's Journey

Tall Boy's Journey

Joanna Halpert Kraus. Carolrhoda Books, $19.95 (47pp) ISBN 978-0-87614-746-7

Kim Moo Yong--Tall Boy--has lost his parents and must travel to America to be adopted. His much-admired soldier uncle persuades him to be brave and well-behaved: ``You must eat. You must learn. You must grow.'' First-time author Kraus then weighs down her story with numerous instances of Tall Boy's culture shock, from his dislike of his adoptive parents' ``raw bean curd'' complexions to his puzzlement at the lack of spirit posts. Predictably, with the help of a Korean coworker of his new father, the lad adjusts and begins to make friends. Kraus's apparent desire to make readers empathize with her hero unfortunately gets in the way of good storytelling, and Ritz's small scale, unexceptional watercolors do little more than give faces to the characters. Though Kraus draws on her experiences as the adoptive mother of a Korean boy, this is neither a particularly effective nor an authentically multicultural title. Ages 7-9. (Nov.)