The duo behind The Paper Kingdom comes together again for the kind and reassuring picture book Rosa's Song, about the joy of discovering new friends when they are needed most.
Jae has moved far away from his "old village, his old home, his old friends." His mother encourages him to meet other kids, so Jae rings the bell of the apartment below. Rosa, her parrot Pollito perched on her shoulder, opens the door and a friendship is born. Jae sadly remarks that there are no mountains outside his window; Rosa clambers on the couch saying, "I'm climbing up, up, up a mountainside," the illustration showing the white couch melding into the snow-white heights of the imagined mountains. Jae misses familiar street vendors; Rosa helps him imagine "the scent of fresh fruit" and "the melody of a pretty song." The two friends explore the apartment complex to find "lost llamas, golden Inca treasures, and a rainforest with parrots--like where Rosa was from." And they sing with Pollito. But Jae wakes one morning to find Rosa and her family "had to leave quickly," and he doesn't know if anything, even Pollito, whom Rosa left in Jae's care, can make the sadness go away.
Helena Ku Rhee's story skillfully demonstrates a compassionate cycle of friendship in which Jae learns that just as Rosa once welcomed him, he can now welcome others. Animator and illustrator Pascal Campion's art seamlessly meshes the children's real and pretend play. Rosa's Song is a quiet, gentle book about the importance of finding--and being--a good friend. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author