One morning eight-year-old Martin looks in the mirror and sees a stranger. Overnight, he has changed. His parents take him to one doctor after another, only to be told that there is nothing wrong with their son. At school his teacher asks, "What have we here, trick or treat?" His classmates will not play with him. At home his family tries to treat him as if he were the same child. But things now are different. Martin has grown very old in the space of one day. His world will never be the same again.
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Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. He dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from the age of six, and, at age twelve, apprenticed himself to his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. For the next four years, Say learned to draw and paint under the direction of Noro, who has remained Say's mentor. Say illustrated his first children's book -- published in 1972 -- in a photo studio between shooting assignments. For years, Say continued writing and illustrating children's books on a part-time basis. But in 1987, while illustrating THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (Caldecott Honor Medal), he recaptured the joy he had known as a boy working in his master's studio. It was then that Say decided to make a full commitment to doing what he loves best: writing and illustrating children's books. Since then, he has written and illustrated many books, including TREE OF CRANES and GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal. He is a full-time writer and illustrator living in Portland, Oregon.From School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 3?This haunting story exposes the agony caused by American attitudes toward aging and differences. Sam enters an empty house after school and instantly pictures his grandfather's final wave good-bye (presumably off to a nursing home). Sam dreads getting old. The next morning, his entrance into the kitchen causes a family commotion; when he turns to look in the mirror, his face is wrinkled, his hair gray. His mother, the epitome of calmness, marches him off to the doctor who diagnoses an unspecified skin condition and sends him to school. There, as in the kitchen and examining room scenes, the onlookers face Sam and readers?registering horror and repulsion. After a second day of taunting and teasing at school, he prepares to run away, but a skateboard rolls by and Sam hops on, losing himself in the experience. That night he comes to terms with the difference between his inner and outer selves. Upon awakening, he again sees a stranger in the mirror?this time it is Sam the boy. Was this a dream or did it really happen? Say leaves that question unanswered; there are details that could support either conclusion. But all the elements?from the abundance of gray, undecorated backgrounds to the utter pain in Sam's eyes; from the disturbing incongruity of the aged face on the small, sneakered body, to the spare, matter-of-fact telling?contribute to a book that is uncomfortable, unsettling, and oh-so-necessary. Use it to probe issues of appearance in the classroom or with individuals. It is far superior to the many books on differences that glut the politically correct market.?Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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