Friday, April 08, 2016

That's Mime! Being a Friend by Salina Yoon

Dennis was a ordinary boy

Who expressed himself in extraordinary ways.

You see, Dennis's means of communicating is mimicry.

That's right! He's a mime!

Other kids call a tree a tree. Dennis mimes a tree. Other kids bring something to show and tell ALL ABOUT IT! Dennis mimes a process, morphing from egg to chrysalis to caterpillar to butterfly.

Dennis has a striped French pullover, a top hat, slippers, and white gloves--the classic costume of the mime--and comes to school ready for a one-man show.

But being on the other side of the mime's invisible wall is lonely.

One day Dennis kicked a imaginary ball...

And someone caught it. Her name was Joy.

Joy mimes right back, opening a door in that invisible wall, and suddenly Dennis is not alone. He doesn't have to say a word.

Because friends don't have to.

Friends speak the same language, in Salina Yoon's latest, Be a Friend (Bloomsbury Press, 2016). Done up in thin blackline and spare palette, Yoon takes a light look at that special something that makes friendship happen between two people, in carefully chosen text in which her charming characters tell most of the story visually. The youngest children may need a little lesson in what pantomime and mime are before they get what Yoon is trying to show with her dotted outlines, but slightly older beginning readers will enjoy reading this one on their own.

For another example of Yoon's gentle, understated storytelling, see more of Salina Yoon's work here.)

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