Posted by Venus on Saturday, October 26, 2013
Labels: picture book review
Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Brian is sure that he in invisible, after all that would explain why no one seems to notice him or includes him in their group, game, or parties. Then a new boy comes to class and for the first time Brian has a friend, who doesn't ignore him and Brian finds himself not so invisible anymore.
A common discussion about children's picture books is the lack of people of color. Outside of the historical fiction realm, it is not uncommon to see a plethora of bunnies, chicks, cows, turtles, and every other animal as the artist muse. This solves a quick solution for one doesn't have to deal with race at all if they are bunnies and publishers still have the notion that a white family will not buy a book with black or Asian characters on them. Does anyone else see a problem with this?This is not to say that there aren't people of color in picture books or that artists do not want to draw them, they are just vastly outnumbered by animals.
So I was surprised to see children of all ethnicities represented in this book, but more importantly that there was a Korean child who tries to explain his meal of Bul go gi to his new friends at school. The author and illustrator went out of their way to create an American child with a very specific ethnic background and I thought it was great.
The illustrations are adorable, with Brian, the invisible boy, slowly becoming less and less invisible as each chapter progresses. The story had a didactic nature, but I think children can easily relate and there is even a discussion guide on the last page for teachers and librarians. A rather well-thought out story that I wouldn't mind owning. (Most of my picture books come from the library.)