Saturday, May 9, 2020

Review - Liam, the Brave

Liam, the Brave
by Michael Wang
illustrated by Simon Koay
Date: 2016
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia)
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Liam, The Brave is a beautifully illustrated story about a boy who overcomes his greatest fear: butterflies. Liam desperately wants to become The Bravest Boy in the World, and he goes through an extraordinary journey of self-discovery to face and overcome his fear. Beyond simply being a story about a boy with an irrational fear, it is also a story about perseverance and more importantly, how accolades don’t matter. What is more important is being true to oneself.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Liam, the Brave is a story about a boy who is afraid of butterflies. He hates the way they flutter past his ear, tickle his wrists, and look like they're staring at him with those spots on their wings. He tries to avoid them at all costs, and even goes so far as to wear gloves and a beekeeper's hat. But he realizes that this isn't exactly healthy, and he doesn't want to get to be a teenager and still be afraid of butterflies. So he sets about facing his fear to try to overcome it.

I don't have a problem with the overall message. What I do have a problem with, however, is the concept of bravery as it's presented here. In this book, bravery seems to equal not being scared of anything. Liam even concedes in a "bravest boy" competition because he's still afraid of butterflies, even though he faced his fear. That is exactly what I always understood bravery to be: being afraid yet not letting it stop you. (After all, if he weren't afraid, what would be the need for bravery at all?)

The illustrations are really charming. I just wish they were accompanying something with a less muddled message about bravery.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.83 out of 5

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