Synopses & Reviews
I knew nothing could happen to us within those walls, in the house Baba built.
In Ed Young's childhood home in Shanghai, all was not as it seemed: a rocking chair became a horse; a roof became a roller rink; an empty swimming pool became a place for riding scooters and bikes. The house his father built transformed as needed into a place to play hide-and-seek, to eat bamboo shoots, and to be safe.
For outside the home's walls, China was at war. Soon the house held not only Ed and his four siblings but also friends, relatives, and even strangers who became family. The war grew closer, and Ed watched as planes flew overhead and frends joined the Chinese air force. But through it all, Ed's childhood remained full of joy and imagination.
This powerful, poignant, and exquisitely illustrated memoir is the story of one of our most beloved children's illustrators and the house his baba built.
"In this picture book memoir by the Caldecott Medalist, which opens in 1931 (the year he was born), the stock market has crashed, and China is in turmoil. Young's father, Baba, persuades a landowner in Shanghai to let him construct a huge brick house on his land; Baba promises to return the house after 20 years, long enough to keep his family safe until WWII ends. Young's creation, shaped with help from author Libby Koponen, is as complex and labyrinthine as Baba's house, with foldout pages that open to reveal drawings, photos, maps, and memories. Tender portraits of his siblings, torn-paper collages showing tiny figures at play, and old photos of stylish adults intermingle, as if they'd been found forgotten in a drawer. Young's fans will savor stories of his East-West childhood; he and his four siblings raise silkworms, watch Westerns, train fighting crickets, and dance the conga when the war finally ends 14 years later. 'Life,' Baba writes to his children, 'is not rich not real unless you partake life with your fellow man'; Young set the course of his life by his father's words. It's history at its most personal. All ages." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Caldecott Medalist Ed Young is the illustrator of more than eighty books for children, seventeen of which he has also written. Born in Tientsin, China, he grew up in Shanghai and later moved to Hong Kong. As a young man, he came to the United States on a student visa to study architecture but turned instead to his love of art. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design, Young has since taught at the Pratt Institute, Yale University, Naropa Institute, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. Ed Youn was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his book Lon Po Po
, and The Emperor and the Kite
and Seven Blind Mice
were named Caldecott Honor Books. Wabi Sabi
, was a New York Times
Best Illustrated Children's Book in 2008.