cover image Yugen


Ed Young, illus. by Mark Reibstein. Triangle Square, $17.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-60980-865-5

“Yugen,” as the child narrator of this haunting story is called by his mother, is a Japanese term that means “subtle and profound.” In their second collaboration, Young and Reibstein (Wabi Sabi) embody that concept through haiku and quiet images that reflect on presence and absence: “I’m Eugene—/ ‘Yugen’ to my mom,/ who held me tight/ when the wind/ blew cold.” When the child’s mother is away in Japan (where “everyone stops work/ to watch/ cherry petals fall”), she and Eugene look at the same star so that, “seeing it together,/ we’d be close,/ though far.” Young accompanies the solitary verses with shadowy charcoal depictions of mother, child, and a cat companion set against scratchy, weathered yellow backgrounds. The collaborators offer a stirring and graceful expression of love, loss, and quiet longing. Ages 5–9. [em](Jan.) [/em]