Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Father's Road - a review

Father's Road

by Ji-yun Hang. Translation from Korean by Joy Cowley.
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2017

Young Wong Chung is old enough to take part in his father's caravan from Chang'an (Xi'an) to Constantinople (Istanbul). He heeds his kindly father's advice and pays attention to everything he sees along the way as they travel the Silk Road from east to West.

We arrived at a place called Turpan where I could smell a sweet aroma. "That's the smell of grapes," said Father.

"Grapes?" I asked. "In a desert?"
"See that white mountain over there? The ice from Tian Shan melts into the soil, and these delicious grapes grow." Father traded some silk for a bunch of grapes that tasted sweet as honey.

I gave two grapes to my camel. He liked them too.

Illustrator Tan Jung creates delicate ink drawings on paper that is flecked and textured to mimic sand. Its color also serves to represent the skin tone of the travelers and the coats of their many camels. Only the silks and featured geographical or commercial highlights are rendered in colors outside a muted palette of tans and grays.  Wong Chung, however, is readily discernible from the rest of the caravan by the pompom atop his cloth hat and his simple, yet endearing facial expressions.

Entertaining, educational, and culturally respectful,  Father's Road is part of the Trade Winds series.

Front and endpapers combine to create a map of the ancient Silk Road.
Back matter contains the following sections:

  •     The Silk Road (a discussion of its commercial and historical significance)
  •     Key Terms and Concepts (definitions of terms related to cultural and economic globalization)
  •     Global Exchange (a discussion of "non-commodities" exchanged on the Silk Road, e.g., religion, inventions, disease)
  •     Goods from Around the World (India, Rome, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia, China - a list of the main trading groups and their products)
  •     Geography of the Silk Road (a list of major Silk Road cities, their ancient and modern names, significance)
  •     A Timeline of Events ( 3000 BCE - 2013 )

On sale 1/30/17.
My Advance Review Copy of Father's Road was provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. 

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