The Storm by Akiko Miyakoshi
The story here is rather straightforward: a young boy is looking forward to a beach day with his family, but an incoming storm threatens to waylay the weekend plans.
What makes this latest from author/illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi – her second translated title from one of Japan’s award-winning children’s book creators published by Canada’s innovative indie Kids Can Press – much more than another simple story is the extraordinary art. Miyakoshi’s mostly black-and-white sketches, set an ideal tone for the coming storm: the brighter white contrast in the introductory spread as the young boy heads toward school, grows slightly darker with each subsequent page-turn as the anticipated “bad storm” looms closer and closer. The classroom feels overcast, the outside grows grayer as the boy’s parents prepare the home by closing shutters; the boy’s increasing disappointment continues to add layers of shadows across the pages. And then there’s the ideal single color to anticipate …
Amid the black and white, the light and dark, and all manner of gray shades in between, the young boy experiences a wide swathe of emotions, from excitement to frustration, from nervousness to relief, from worry to excitement all over again. As he drifts off to sleep with howling winds and pouring rain, his imagination proves to be his best defense, as he embarks on a ship of his dreams – with his brave, trusty kitty by his side – to confront his darkest fears.
Page after page, from various angles and changing viewpoints, Miyakoshi eloquently captures the power of nature, the refuge of family, the excitement of anticipation (for both the good and not-so-great), and the gift of creativity. Given our current unpredictable weather across the country, The Storm will be just the book you’ll want to share with your young ‘uns when dark clouds loom, the best-laid plans are threatened, and indoor adventures are your only option. Here’s to a welcoming literary escape!
Published: 2009 (Japan), 2016 (United States)