by Yamada, Kobi; Hurst, Elise (ILT)

To learn, we first must try. To improve, we must accept failure. To gain mastery, we must invest time and patience. These simple truths are expressed artfully through the story of a young boy and a sculptor. The boy visits the sculptor's studio and is drawn to his works, his mind filling with images he dreams of creating, but the work proves harder than he imagined. Frustrated, he wants to give up, but the sculptor gives gentle encouragement by showing his own failures, explaining how each attempt helped teach him a better way. Full-bleed illustrations, rendered in shades of gray with washes of color on some spreads, use light and shadow to show the impressive heft of the sculptures. The narrative's serious tone is balanced by the inclusion of several cats in the studio, moving around the statues, unintimidated by their size or subject, which adds a touch of humor. The ending finds the boy grown, welcoming a young girl into his own studio, ready to pass along his kind mentor's message about the importance of perseverance. Grades K-2. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

A young visitor to a sculptorâ??s studio is amazed and impressed as he views the artist at work, asking, ,How do you do that?" The visitor, an older elementary-age kid or maybe a young teen, acknowledges wishing to create something like the art on view, but self-doubt at ever being able to produce such beauty prevents the kid from beginning. What follows is an ongoing, almost Socratic discussion between the visitor and the sculptor. The sculptor exhorts the visitor to try, to make an attempt, and encourages, advises, and pushes his interlocutor to learn from failures and disappointments. As the sculptor does so, he is not loath to shares his own vulnerabilities and haunting thoughts of his mortality. Gradually the visitor becomes a protĂ©gĂ©, trying and trying again. As in previous works such as What Do You Do With a Problem? (illustrated by Mae Besom, 2016), Yamada deals with both philosophical and practical questions, maintaining a grounded, direct tone without ever becoming preachy or too highly esoteric. The aspiring artist narrates in the first person from a distance of several years, treasuring the memory of the sculptorâ??s words, only to be interrupted at the end of the book by a new voice from a new visitor, echoing that first question. Hurstâ??s black, gray, and white drawings are heavily shaded, imparting a mysterious and ethereal quality. There are fleeting bits of color in the form of an orange studio cat and the sculptorâ??s green-tinged failures. The characters present White. Young readers and their grown-ups will find much to absorb and discuss. A gentle, mind-expanding, and thoroughly lovely experience. (Picture book. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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