The Only Child
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book
Hailed by Entertainment Weekly and the Wall Street Journal as a best book of the year, this gorgeous and imaginative story—part picture book, part graphic novel—is utterly transporting and original. USA Today declared it “a compelling and melancholy debut from an important new talent" as well as "an expansive and ageless book full of wonder, sadness, and wild bursts of imagination.” And like Shaun Tan's The Arrival and Raymond Briggs's The Snowman, it is quickly becoming a modern classic.
A little girl—lost and alone—follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world. But... home and family are very far away. How will she get back there?
In this magnificently illustrated—and wordless—masterpiece, debut artist Guojing brilliantly captures the rich and deeply-felt emotional life of a child, filled with loneliness and longing as well as love and joy.
“A haunting, wordless, gorgeously drawn picture book.” —People
“Told wordlessly through soft, dreamy illustrations, Guojing’s tale evokes the loneliness of growing up under China’s one-child policy.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A dreamy, wordless debut.” —The New York Times
"Majestic.... Rare is the book containing great emotional depth that truly resonates across a span of ages: this is one such." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"Reminiscent of Raymond Briggs’s classic, The Snowman (1978), this is quiet, moving, playful, and bittersweet all at once." —Booklist, Starred
In an author's note, newcomer Guojing explains that this wordless graphic novel grew out of memories of "isolation and loneliness," growing up under China's one-child policy. The Only Child of her story is an adorable dumpling in overalls who discovers herself alone on a bus after falling asleep. She sets off to find her grandmother's house and is approached in a wintry forest by a stag, who flies with her into a realm beyond the clouds. There they discover an irresistible creature part baby seal, part polar bear cub and the three share a marvelous adventure until the animal's parent comes to fetch it and the child is left alone again. She is never deserted by the loyal stag, though, who returns her safely to her own world. The low-key, all-gray charcoal palette carries whiffs of winter chill and poverty, but the physical sensations Guojing suggests visually the fluffy softness of the clouds, the warmth of the stag's closeness provide the comfort of a soft quilt. Fine draftsmanship, deft pacing, and striking imaginative power distinguish this debut. Ages 5 9.
The Only Child by Guojing; my favorite book.
This book is wonderful, the best book, and the only book, I have ever seen to be so emotional. The illustrations show more than words can ever tell.