Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival is a big story to tell. It’s broad in historical scope, and emotionally hefty in the distress and fear experienced by Tuan and his fellow refugees, and in its moral significance….I am ever thankful that Tuan Ho’s story does have a happy ending and that Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch chose to share it with young readers in an illustrated book and that Pajama Press chose well to pair it with the art of Brian Deines. From the illustration of a lone boat adrift in a wash of dry heat that graces the cover of Adrift at Sea, to the dark and engrossing images of Tuan’s steps along the journey, Brian Deines’ art is evocative and integrative, resplendent in complementary colours of orange and golds and blues and purples.
By recounting Tuan’s story in the limited but succinct text of a picture book, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is able to forge a powerful connection between the emotions of the narrative and the visual i.e., the expansive oil painted art of Brian Deines. This makes Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival more than just a story about Tuan Ho. It makes it an archive of historical importance for young readers to access.
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