Saturday, February 6, 2021

Review - A New Kind of Wild

A New Kind of Wild

by Zara González Hoang
Date: 2020
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

This sweet author-illustrator debut celebrates imagination, the magic of friendship, and all the different ways we make a new place feel like home.

For Ren, home is his grandmother’s little house, and the lush forest that surrounds it. Home is a place of magic and wonder, filled with all the fantastical friends that Ren dreams up. Home is where his imagination can run wild.

For Ava, home is a brick and cement city, where there’s always something to do or see or hear. Home is a place bursting with life, where people bustle in and out like a big parade. Home is where Ava is never lonely because there’s always someone to share in her adventures.

When Ren moves to Ava’s city, he feels lost without his wild. How will he ever feel at home in a place with no green and no magic, where everything is exactly what it seems? Of course, not everything in the city is what meets the eye, and as Ren discovers, nothing makes you feel at home quite like a friend.

Inspired by the stories her father told her about moving from Puerto Rico to New York as a child, Zara González Hoang’s author-illustrator debut is an imaginative exploration of the true meaning of “home.”

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book made me kind of sad. I guess it's supposed to be about friendship and seeing the beauty in your surroundings wherever you happen to be, but I just felt sorry for poor Ren, uprooted from paradise and plunked in the middle of a city with all of its sensory onslaughts. It's nice that he had Ava to show him that the city had its own beauty, but how would that help a reader who's longing for home and hasn't made any friends?

So... I basically spent a lot of this book being mad at Ren's mom.

That said, the story is okay and the illustrations are colourful and engaging. I might have enjoyed the story more if I actually believed that going from a simple wilderness life to a polluted city one was a good thing.

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

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.67 out of 5

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