When a mysterious creature with an imbedded bullet turns up, Fi and her scientist father head to the town of Calico – linked “to the rest of the country! and the world!” by a single bridge. They’ll be staying with Fi’s Uncle Simon, the younger brother of Fi’s late mother.
Insulated by headphones, Fi seems to distance herself from what’s going on around her. Her vision of the world is mitigated by one of those pre-digital age instant cameras, watching the photographs slowly develop into something other than what’s visible right in front of her.
In Calico, Fi meets Jaden, a young boy everyone knows but who doesn’t seem to belong to anyone, although he has a special relationship with Grandmama, an elderly food cart vendor who keeps him well supplied with her delicious bao (steamed buns). Jaden is no ordinary child – he has seemingly imaginary friends, he can fly, and he just might be able to save the world from the corporate out-of-towners who are snapping up all the empty spaces of unsuspecting Calico.
With elements of save-the-planet, good-vs.-evil, reclaiming the mother-daughter bond, celebrating heritage, and even a hint of Totoro-like faith in the impossible (while visually reminiscent of Taiyo Matsumoto’s dystopic TEKKON KINKREET: Black & White), Indonesian-born Australian artist Diana Thung creates a magical, mystical adventure for all ages.
Intrigued? How could you not be?
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2012 (United States)