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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.

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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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