Raymond's Perfect Present

By Kirkus Reviews

An Honor book in the publisher’s New Voice Award Competition, this is a sweet… sentimental look at a boy trying to cope with his mother’s serious illness… Raymond and his mother are fortunate to have close elderly neighbors in their city apartment who look after the boy while his mother has an extended hospital stay. The couple is sympathetic to Raymond’s wish to give his mother a special surprise gift when she returns home. When he decides to plant flower seeds, they provide the pots, and they take him for regular visits to see his mother. Although the flowers have bloomed and scattered before his mother can see them, Mom is delighted to see the birds that come to strip their seeds. In an upbeat, but not unrealistic ending, Raymond and his mother enjoy a walk in the park. Wang’s stylized illustrations, rendered in pencil and scanned into a computer, picture an Asian boy and his mother. Their coloration reflects the boy’s mood, full color when he’s planning his surprise, muted blues and white when he is worried. A story with bibliotherapeutic possibilities.