Review

Kirkus Reviews - Common Threads: Adam's Day at the Market

Cover: Common Threads: Adam's Day at the Market

In this nearly wordless picture book, young Adam wanders away from his parents at the busy outdoor market, but diverse strangers help him find them again.Brown-skinned Adam wanders through Eastern Market with his mom, a dark-skinned woman wearing a blue hijab and long tunic, and his dad, a light-skinned man wearing a kufi and shalwar kameez. When he spots a scavenging blue jay, he follows it to watch it eat peanuts. He taps a woman from behind, asking, “Isn’t it neat, Mama?” But he is surprised when the woman turns around: Although her hair is covered and she wears a long, blue dress, it’s a kindly stranger, not his mom. Small vignettes show Adam wandering through the crowd at the adults’ waist level, repeatedly mistaking other grown-ups for his parents, often based on similar styles of dress whose variations indicate other cultures (for example, a habit, a head wrap, and a sari). As he keeps searching, the strangers begin searching for his parents too, resulting in a reunion in which all of the adults greet each other warmly. The colorful illustrations invite basic seek-and-find fun as well as offering meaning at a deeper level for readers who want to identify the cultures represented. An afterword titled “Becoming a Cultural Detective” asks readers to consider clothing as just one indication of identity and encourages cultural curiosity but does not identify the clothing and cultures in the book. A visual feast filled with food for thought.

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