Monday, December 20, 2010

Big Clay Pot, by Scott Mills

Note: We didn't get a chance to post Friday's book, so expect two reviews today.

Contest Book #13

Scott Mills's delicately illustrated graphic novel Big Clay Pot is the story of Sun Kim, a preadolescent Korean orphan who ends up in a small fishing community in ancient Japan. Sun Kim's klutziness gets her kicked out of camp after camp, until she meets Kokoro, an elderly fisherman whose grouchy exterior conceals a generous heart. The child and the old man are unlikely friends, but their relationship proves life-altering for them both.

We found most of Big Clay Pot touching, although it contains elements—like Sun Kim's desire to marry Kokoro, or a late plot twist that hinges on her introduction to puberty—that would require considerable discussion if one wanted to share the story with a young reader. Still, most of the appeal of this story comes from its simple yet utterly distinctive illustrations, which infuse every scene with emotion. Not all of those emotions are positive, mind you (in fact, most of 'em range from "melancholy" to "totally depressing"), but they're a tribute to Mr. Mills's skill as an artist.

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