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I, Doko: The Tale of a Basketby Ed Young
Synopses & Reviews
Doko is only a simple basket. It is not only grain from the field that he carries — he has also carried his master's child, and wood for the fire. He was there when the child became a man and married. And he very nearly had to carry the grandfather away forever. Luckily, someone wise beyond their years spoke up and made it possible for Doko to carry the grandfather home again instead.
As ever, Ed Young has taken a simple fable and made it into a masterpiece of stunning illustration and expert storytelling. This beautiful and unique book celebrates the generations with great originality.
"Young's (Lon Po Po) mixed-media artwork is stunning in this exquisitely designed book, but the often confusing, moralistic adaptation of a Nepalese folktale may be too inaccessible for some readers. As the ending suggests, the book tells how 'Wangal's love and respect for his grandfather inspired and transformed the whole village in how to treat elders.' Unfortunately, the story is told somewhat awkwardly in first-person by the family's large basket, Doko (which means 'basket' in Nepalese). Doko witnesses the events and features prominently in the story's resolution, but the basket acting as narrator serves to distance readers from the characters and makes for some clunky explanations. When the aged grandfather, Yeh-yeh, becomes a nuisance by inadvertently setting the house afire, Wangal's parents decide to leave the man on the temple steps for the priests to tend. Like an amateur thespian, Doko asks readers, 'What could I, a basket, do!' As his father carries Yeh-yeh away in the basket, young Wangal exposes his father's cruelty with his cathartic request: he asks his father to make sure he brings Doko back, because then he 'won't need to buy another Doko when you are old and it is time to leave you on the temple steps.' Accompanied by artistically sophisticated and emotionally powerful illustrations, the brief text mostly serves to summarize the story, and devotes little room to the relationships between characters. Despite the uplifting message and gilt-edged pages framing dramatically appealing artwork, this intergenerational story ultimately disappoints. Ages 4-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Done in gouache, pastel, and collage, the pictures have graceful lines, subtle textures, and magnificent colors. With gold endpapers and gold edgings around each page, there's a timeless quality suited to the story. Lovely." School Library Journal
"A superb rendition of a tale with universal resonance." Horn Book Magazine
"As increasing numbers of families anticipate in-home care for elderly relatives, parents will want to share this story's poignant message with their children. The book may also inspire students' recastings of familiar tales from unusual points of view." Booklist
"Young's drawing incorporates the subtle elegance of Asian scrolls with the expressive force of Western art." Children's Literature
The Caldecott Medalist has taken a simple fable about a basket that serves several generations of one family and turns it into a masterpiece of stunning illustration and expert storytelling. Full color.
About the Author
Caldecott medalist Ed Young was born in Tientsin, China, and brought up in Shanghai.
What Our Readers Are Saying
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