Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Well Read Review: The Storm (Akiko Miyakoshi)

The Storm 
Akiko Miyakoshi (Author/Illustrator)
Kids Can Press
BookPeople | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon


While at first glance the grayscale charcoal drawings of Akiko Miyakoshi's The Storm seem to be nearly as simplistic as the spare, succinct text, a closer look reveals something more. Miyakoshi's artwork manages to capture the monotony of daily life, preparations for a storm, the patience of loving parents and most of all, the emotion of a child disappointed to potentially miss a trip to the beach: sullen on the couch, mopey (and probably a tad irritating) during dinner preparation, and anxious as a storm rolls in.

"I just mope...I don't want to go next week. I want to go tomorrow." and "The wind howls and blows. I try not to be scared."
Even with minimal facial details, the emotion depicted is sincere and realistic. Readers will find these emotions both identifiable and relatable; Miyakoshi's economical text mirrors the images well.

A fairly straightforward story with a happy ending, the climax of The Storm involves the child's defeat of the storm in his dreams, as he bravely faces the storm from the crow's nest of a giant propeller ship. The images darken as the child's fear builds along with the intensity of the storm (and nightfall), brightening as the boy finds his confidence, pushing the clouds away. The final spread incorporates sky blue - the first use of color in the book - in a hopeful, happy depiction of a child's dream coming true.

I found The Storm to be a quiet read, most likely best for one-on-one reads. For additional work by Miyakoshi, check out The Tea Party in the Woods.  

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