1.17.2012

Shy City: The Boys

The BoysEven though there is nary a female in Jeff Newman's wordless picture book, The Boys, as a relatively shy individual, boy could I could relate to the experience of the protagonist.

A boy moves the the city, finds himself too shy to join in the kids' ballgame and so instead tries to fit in with the older crowd -- the much older crowd. Fortunately, this gang, although older, is also wiser and helps lead the boy back to kids his own age.

The city here remains in the background and it's easy to forget about it. It also has a rather industrial feel.  The city park is the important location -- where groups of individuals gather to engage in common like-minded activities.  Newman frequently uses the image of the park bench to convey either loneliness or togetherness at just the right moment. After all, nothing says city park like a long green bench.

When this book came out it received a lot of buzz so check out the Want More? section below for some thorough reviews -- and then check it out from your library. 

Want More?
Read Fuse #8's review. She'll tell you a lot more about the book than I did.
Read an interview with the author and see more illustrations at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
Visit the author's picture blog.

Big Kid says: Why is he hanging out with the grandpas?
Little Kid says: They are playing baseball!

6 comments:

Raising a Happy Child said...

Interesting! We just read Neville that is built around a similar theme of making new friends in a new neighborhood.

Yellow Brick Reads said...

Couldn't find a comment box on the books set in Paris page but was wondering if you'd come across the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans? My niece was a huge fan. I remember she made me promise to visit Madeline on a trip I made to Paris a few years back.

Magdalena Ball said...

Very nicely written review, and I like the "want more" section. Sounds like an interesting book for children.

Brimful Curiosities said...

It looks like it may be a good inter-generational read, too. My kids would probably drift toward the kids rather than the older adults if visiting a new park.

Storied Cities said...

@Yellow Brick: I do know of the Madeline books. When I did my "April in Paris" feature last year, my tag line was "Beyond Madeline", the reason being that so many people have already read Madeline I wanted to give them something new to look at. Thanks for your comment!

Bibliovore said...

I just read this, and had to go through it a couple of times. I was charmed! Loved the illustration of the shy little boy dressing up like an 80-year-old man, and then the old men joining in the baseball game at the end!

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