A Different Pond

Reinberger Review

Engaging portrait of father, his son and one fishing trip on a crisp autumn morning. Told through the eyes of the author as a young boy, Bao Phi is brought to the United States with his family fleeing Vietnam in 1975. Now residing in Minnesota, one morning they both set out to go fishing for dinner. Bao helps with the making a small fire, eating homemade sandwiches that his dad made early in the morning. While fishing, Bao’s father tells his son that he used to fish by a pond with his brother like this in his homeland Vietnam although he rarely talks about his homeland. Soon, they catch a fish and leave as the sun is about to rise. When they arrive home, mom is reassuring as they give her the bucket of fish they caught. His dad changes clothes to go to work; Bao helps his mom clean the fish and they she goes off to work while Bao stays home with his older siblings. Later that evening, everyone is at home eating dinner that Bao and his dad caught at the pond. They laugh, share stories and enjoy each other’s company. As Bao rests his head on his pillow later that evening, he will dream of fish in a different pond like the one his father fished for in Vietnam.

Feathery with vivid colored panels double-page spreads, quiet and compelling strength fit together perfectly crafted father and son fishing trip. Confident and vivid ink black brushstrokes stand out of the dark and light backdrops. The illustration colors are vibrant imposing the emotions and slightly three dimensional balance. One read will make you  understand why this book won the 2018 Caldecott Honor Award.

-Annisha Jeffries

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