A 2009 Caldecott Honor Book
Having fled from war in their troubled homeland, a boy and his family are living in poverty in a strange country. Food is scarce, so when the boy’s father brings home a map instead of bread for supper, at first the boy is furious. But when the map is hung on the wall, it floods their cheerless room with color. As the boy studies its every detail, he is transported to exotic places without ever leaving the room, and he eventually comes to realize that the map feeds him in a way that bread never could.
The award-winning artist’s most personal work to date is based on his childhood memories of World War II and features stunning illustrations that celebrate the power of imagination. An author’s note includes a brief description of his family’s experience, two of his early drawings, and the only surviving photograph of himself from that time.
Since 1963, Uri Shulevitz has commanded attention. In that year, a refugee in his 20s, he published his first picture book, The Moon in My Room. Forty-five years, a Caldecott Medal, numerous honors and more than 40 titles later, Shulevitz now gives us his first explicitly autobiographical story. It is a masterpiece…What is this book but a sequence of the folk tales Shulevitz has been telling from the beginning? The destruction of family happiness, the reversal of fortune, the foolish bargain, the impossible task: all these classic themes control this story. In framing his own story, replacing autobiographical fact with archetypal forms, Shulevitz keeps the focus on the inner world that he has so consistently illuminated. Once again, he reminds us that folly is not the opposite of wisdom, but so close a relative that the two are often mistaken.