Every once in a while, a children’s picture book will capture me in a way that I just don’t expect it to. The Only Child by Guojing is one that has got me right now. This beautiful story, told only through illustrations, includes a little child and snow and a reindeer, which makes it a nice read for this time of year, but it’s so much more than that.
This is a beautiful story about realizing you’re lost, making new friends, and finding your way back home again.
Chinese illustrator Guojing grew up a very lonely only child in China, and this book is loosely based on an incident from her childhood when she got lost traveling alone (at just 6 years old!) to her grandmother’s house. She eventually found her way, and that path home became the inspiration for this story.
Of course, she wasn’t led back home by a friendly reindeer or cuddly bear-like creature who floats in the sky, like the little child in the book. But those elements are part of what make the book really magical.
The other thing I love about this story is the lack of words, which probably sounds strange coming from a writer. I think my kids and I both have a tendency to speed through books when I’m reading them out loud, but a wordless book forces you to slow down and imagine what’s happening in the story. I’m more likely to pull my kid up into my lap –whether he’s one of my readers or not quite yet — and take some time to really experience the book together. That’s something really special.
You can find The Only Child by Guojing for nearly 50% off at our affiliate Amazon, or check your local indie bookseller.