Book Review: DRAWN TOGETHER

Written by Minh Le | Illustrated by Dan Santat

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the technical aspects of this book. The experts are the book creators. My reviews are my opinions.

DRAWN TOGETHER is one of my favorite picture books. Dare I say, I think I love it more than my 4-year-old son does. When writing picture books, I strive to keep my word count under the recommended 500-word limit. Somehow, author Minh Le masterfully wrote a timeless and beautiful award-winning story in approximately 100 words. Also, because of this book, illustrator Dan Santat gained one more fan for life! I will always use this book to study how authors should leave enough room for the illustrators to breathe their own life and version to the text. I’d give almost anything to to see Minh’s illustration notes.

Summary, “A boy and his grandfather cross a language and cultural barrier using their shared love of art, storytelling, and fantasy.”

I loved how this book walked me through the beautiful evolution of the relationship between a boy and his grandfather. The bold, amazing, and captivating illustrations grab you from the beginning. Every time I read it and study the images, I find a new gem.

Tech Notes

Theme: There are different ways to bond with someone.

Point of View: 1st person

Tense: Present tense

Internal Journey: How to build a relationship with his grandfather.

External Journey: How to be happy at his grandfather’s house and not be scared.

Story Arc: Double man a hole – modified. The story arc is slightly different than the standard understanding (i.e. double man in the hole) because the graph for this story begins with a negative value. The boy arrived at his grandfather’s house filled with dread.

Story Structure: Parallel. The two characters follow the same trajectory. They progress separately until they intersect in the middle of the story.

Story Start | End: The story begins and ends with scenes in opposition of each other.

Plot type: Discovery. The characters discover how they can bond to reverse their poor communication.  

Pacing: The pace is slow in the first four spreads of the mostly wordless scenes because you need time to absorb the exposition or the story’s set-up. The slow pace is appropriate for the opening conflict. The pace picks up in the middle of the story when the characters find something they have in common.

Dialogue: The author uses the very little dialogue to further highlight the characters’ differences.

Illustration: The illustrations can stand alone. A few pages of illustrations pass until you see the first words. 

Published by gpbellbooks

Picture Book Author

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