Title: Tibet Through the Red Box (signed)
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, New York
Publication Date: 1998
Illustrator: Sis, Peter
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 1st ed..
1st ptg. Square 4to picture book, full cream cloth with color plate inset under vellum dj. A Caldecott Honor Book. The tale of the author's father's journeys in Tibet. Signed by Sis inside leaf drawing facing title page. Fine in near fine, unclipped dj, crease to corner of front dj flap. Signed by Sis. Bookseller Inventory # 9301
A father's diary, an artist's memoir.
By the author of the best-selling Three Golden Keys.
While my father was in China and Tibet, he kept a diary, which was later locked in a red box. We weren't allowed to touch the box. The stories I heard as a little boy faded to a hazy dream, and my drawings from that time make no sense. I cannot decipher them. It was not until I myself had gone far, far away and received the message from my father that I became interested in the red box again . . .
In New York, Peter Sis receives a letter from his father. "The Red Box is now yours," it says. The brief note worries him and pulls him back to Prague, where the contents of the red box explain the mystery of his father's long absence during the 1950s.
Czechoslovakia was behind the iron curtain; Vladimir Sis, a documentary filmmaker of considerable talent, was drafted into the army and sent to China to teach filmmaking. He left his wife, daughter, and young son, Peter, thinking he would be home for Christmas. Two Christmases would pass before he was heard from again: Vladimir Sis was lost in Tibet. He met with the Dalai Lama; he witnessed China's invasion of Tibet. When he returned to Prague, he dared not talk to his friends about all he had seen and experienced. But over and over again he told Peter about his Tibetan adventures. Weaving their two stories together - that of the father lost in Tibet and that of the small boy in Prague, lost without his father - Sis draws from his father's diary and from his own recollections of his father's incredible tales to reach a spiritual homecoming between father and son. With his sublime pictures, inspired by Tibetan Buddhist art and linking history to memory, Peter Sis gives us an extraordinary book - a work of singular artistry and rare imagination. This title has Common Core connections.
Tibet Through the Red Box is a 1999 Caldecott Honor Book and the winner of the 1999 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Special Citation.
Review: As a child in 1950s Czechoslovakia, Caldecott Honor-winning artist Peter Sís would listen to mysterious tales of Tibet, "the roof of the world." The narrator, oddly enough, was his father--a documentary filmmaker who had been separated from his crew, caught in a blizzard, and (according to him, anyway) nursed back to health by gentle Yetis. Young Sís learned of a beautiful land of miracles and monks beset by a hostile China; of the 14th Dalai Lama, a "Boy-God-King"; and of "a magic palace with a thousand rooms--a room for every emotion and heart's desire." Hearing these accounts--some extravagant but all moving--helped the boy recover from an accident. The stories also allowed Sís's father to relate an odyssey other adults didn't seem to want to know about in cold war Czechoslovakia. "He told me, over and over again, his magical stories of Tibet, for that is where he had been. And I believed everything he said," Sís recalls. Still, after some time he too seemed to become immune, and the stories "faded to a hazy dream." With Tibet: Through the Red Box Sís finally pays tribute to this fantastical experience, illustrating key pages from his father's diary with complex, color-rich images of mazes, mountains, and mandalas. He also produces pictures of his family at home--simple, monochromatic images that are just as haunting as their Himalayan counterparts. In one, a wistful mother and two children gather around a Christmas tree, the absent father appearing as a featureless silhouette. Tibet is a treasure for the eyes and heart. Some will ask: Is it for children or adults? Others will wonder: Is it a work of art or a storybook? One of the many things that this book makes us realize is that such classifications are entirely (and happily) unnecessary. (Click to see a sample spread. Illustrations copyright ©1998 by Peter Sís. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.) --Kerry Fried
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