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The Arrival – a review in pieces

Review by Scott Tingley June 14, 2007

I thought I would try a different approach for this review. I just got this book, and after flipping through the first few pages I am very excited about it. It is a stunning piece of art and the reviews it has gotten by industry greats are “glowing” to say the least.

I want to put something up fast just to say how great it is, but The Arrival looks so great that I do not want to rush through it. Life is keeping me from having an hour to devote to it, so I thought I would do this review in pieces.

The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope. (from shauntan.net)

My first impression of this wordless picture book / graphic novel, apart from its obvious beauty, is that it looks like something that would be at home in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class and in any High or Middle School History / Social Studies class. The concept of this immigrant man traveling alone to an alien-like foreign land would be a concept that many new or first generation citizens would easily understand. I think that a book like this would allow for lengthy discussions in which all would be able to participate. Language and reading skill would not be an issue.


The Arrival is currently being published by Scholastic Inc. and will be available this October. Interesting - the press release that came with the book recommends it for ages 3-5. While small children will enjoy the pictures, I think a more mature reader will get a lot more out of it.

More later…..


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