• NZ Booklovers

In Blossom by Yooju Cheon

One day, a cat and a dog meet on a bench. The cat eats her lunch. The dog reads his book. As the sun twinkles, the breeze blows, and there’s something sweet in the air.

Author and illustrator Yooju Cheon has created the most gentle, minimalistic story that still manages to pull off a big punch.

Born in Seoul, she studied picture book illustration at Harvard Law School.

About In Blossom, she says, “Once spring blossom comes, I don’t want to do anything but watch blossom all day. More than anything else I love watching soft flowers bloom from ancient trees”.

This adoration of blossom is obvious to see. Cheon captures them in simple -- somewhat surprisingly muted -- glory.

The blossom becomes an almost third character within this quite short story.

Cheon carries the story on a limited word count. Despite the sparse number of words, the story of unlikely friendships shines through.

Both characters, Cat and Dog, have their own distinct characters and are beautifully illustrated. The level of detail for each – from Cat’s tiny sushi to Dog’s furry paws – are simply exquisite. Cheon does well to develop each personality in a relatively short amount of time.

For some readers however, the length of the story will leave them wanting more. It does end quite abruptly, and there is very little dialogue.

Children need to experience all types of emotions; and books that show all of those emotions. While at times you’ll reach for a bright, ‘noisy’ book, at other times a soft and tender book is the one to turn to.

This book will make a wonderful book to share one-on-one with a child, especially in moments where emotions get too overwhelming. It is so peaceful and calming, you can’t help but relax as you read it.

A delightfully sweet, calming story that will remind all of us to stop and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Allen & Unwin, RRP $27.99