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Malaysian comics creator Lat makes his American debut with this down-to-earth account of childhood in a Southeast Asian kampung, or village. His black-and-white text resembles a chronological sketchbook, with stilt-houses and jungle plants inked on each page, and handwritten text explaining events and customs. Impatient readers might wish for a glossary or map: "I was born in a kampung in the heart of the world's largest tin-mining district-the Kinta Valley in Perak," says the narrator, and leaves it at that. But most will enjoy the protagonist's casual chronicle of rites of passage such as a hair-shaving ceremony ("adat cukur kepala"), lessons in the Koran at age six, the Bersunat (circumcision) ceremony at age 10, and a trip to the movies circa 1960. From the window of his house, he sees a rubber plantation and hears the "distant roaring sound... of a tin dredge." Later, Constable Mat Saman, a Barney Fife-like zealot toting an automatic rifle, chases villagers who pan the river for saleable tin scraps. Lat's adults have narrow chests and slouch pelvis-first, while mischievous children canoe, dive and fish in the river. This first in a projected series ends on a to-be-continued note, with the narrator leaving for boarding school and already homesick for the kampung. Lat's loose, laid-back stories of Muslim family life and school should appeal to Marjane Satrapi fans; with humor and affection, Lat makes the exotic kampung feel familiar. All ages. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 4 Up-Kampung Boy is a pleasure to read. It follows the early life of a Muslim boy growing up in a tiny town in Malaysia during the 1950s. Incidents are well chosen and illuminating, including the rituals surrounding birth, the solidity and pride of family, the joy of skinny-dipping, and the fanfare of a traditional circumcision ceremony. All are handled tastefully and with nostalgic reverence. Illustrations are simple, yet emotionally expressive and charming. As engaging as any travelogue, the book uses universal themes to connect readers to a time and place that may very well no longer exist, but sincere reflection and honest details will draw them into this other world and win their hearts. American audiences are lucky to finally receive this international classic.-Dawn Rutherford, King County Library System, Bellevue, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
\rtf1\ansi\deff0Malaysian cartoonist Lat uses the graphic novel format to share the story of his childhood in a small village, or kampung0 . From his birth and adventures as a toddler to the enlargement of his world as he attends classes in the village, makes friends, and, finally, departs for a prestigious city boarding school, this autobiography is warm, authentic, and wholly engaging. Lat depicts small children\emdash including himself\emdash as mostly mop-topped, toothy, bare-bottomed or sarong-draped\emdash while the important adults in his life often appear in billowing trousers or dramatic spectacles. Everything is wonderfully detailed in his scribbly black-and-white sketches; each page is crammed with heavily inked action scenes, which are explained in simple but eloquent prose. Some passages recall past behavior; others focus on cultural events and surroundings\emdash a wedding, a rubber plantation, Lat's circumcision (It took place on a banana trunk. In two minutes it was over! . . . just like an ant bite! ). Filled with humor and affection, the book is a delight; readers will enjoy it not only as an introduction to a well-known Southeast Asian artist but also as a story of boyhood that encompasses both universals and the specifics of a time and place. --Francisca Goldsmith Copyright 2006 Booklist