Friday, November 19, 2021

Review - Thank You, Miyuki

Thank You, Miyuki
by Roxane Marie Galliez
illustrated by Seng Soun Ratanavanh
Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: Kobo

Miyuki and her grandfather return in an enchanting intergenerational story enhanced by Seng Soun Ratanavanh's gorgeous Japanese-inspired illustrations. Miyuki's curiosity is piqued by her grandfather's morning meditation routine, and she is eager to learn this new skill. Her wise and patient grandfather first takes her on a walk in the garden. "When do we start to meditate?" she asks repeatedly. Grandfather enjoys the warm sun and stops to smell a rose, inviting Miyuki to join him. Their walk in the garden, filled with many tender moments, heightens their gratitude for each other and for the world around them. Miyuki comes to understand that in the small acts of mindfulness throughout her day, she learned how to meditate.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is the second Miyuki book I've read, the other being Patience, Miyuki. I didn't like Thank You, Miyuki nearly as much as its predecessor. (I've still yet to read Time for Bed, Miyuki... although, now I'm not sure if I really want to.)

The pictures here are lovely, if a little bit trippy. They're whimsical and imaginative, which is in glaring contrast to the narrative of the book, in which Grandpa ignores Miyuki's questions all day and seems to disparage her imagination. The whole point of the story is that Grandpa is going to teach Miyuki to meditate. But he doesn't communicate much with her about that, leading to Miyuki's incessant questioning of, "When do we start to meditate?" (Talk about annoying.) When they look at clouds, the child sees all sorts of shapes. Grandpa sees only clouds, and it's implied at the end that this is the "right" answer because that's what meditating is all about. (Meditation is supposed to be boring, I guess.) I really don't like seeing a child being discouraged from using their imagination, even if it's to meditate in some sort of "correct" way.

To be honest, though, I think I knew this book was going to annoy me from the very first line:

Lilac dew and mist on the grass, Grandpa wakes early to greet the wind.

I mean... what kind of grammar is that? (I thought maybe that first word was supposed to be "like", but it's probably just supposed to be poetic or something.)

That said, the illustrations are very pretty. A limited colour of palette of turquoise, red, yellow, pink, and green works to bring the characters and their fantastical world to life. (I likened the illustrations in Patience, Miyuki to something out of Alice in Wonderland, and that's true here as well.) I could see some of the pictures as framed prints in a child's room; that's how nice they are.

Overall, this was just okay. If you like the other Miyuki books, you'll probably like this. Personally, though, I'm only here for the pictures.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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