★★★★ In Chadwick’s Eyes by Rae Yung is a children’s book about a young boy named Chadwick, who has just moved to a new town with his mother and father. At first glance, Chadwick seems to have a normal life: he listens to his parents, enjoys playing video games, and, sometimes, has a bad day at school. But one day, while playing, Chadwick accidentally discovers that his mother has wire cords coming out of her back. He runs to his father, who assures him that it’s just a joke—yet Chadwick can’t shake the feeling that something is deeply wrong. Soon after, his mother dies in a car accident, turning Chadwick’s life upside down. His father, however, has secretly been hard at work on a project he is almost ready to reveal. For better or worse, Chadwick’s life is about to become a lot more confusing.
Yung is a gifted artist, and, thematically, her text goes nicely with the illustrations. Strong lines give the art an almost comic book quality, while key choices with color create an appealing focus for young readers to follow while they are flipping through the book. The story itself is rich in symbolism and will challenge children to think about the meaning behind the words. Likely, it will also provide them with a way to process their own negative emotions and trauma. This book will fit best for readers who are beginning to develop a taste for speculative fiction, but its stirringly surreal illustrations are perfect for any child who ponders life more deeply than the average person.