As potential challenges are depicted, an offstage parent offers a child loving messages of mindfulness and empowerment.
Is this another sentimental book with singsong couplets published mainly for presentation at baby showers and graduation? No! Imaginatively shaped pages and clever die cuts that highlight important images (the sun; the child’s constant canine companion) or words (breathe, will rise again) ensure child appeal. The rhymes please and surprise, as they occur irregularly: sometimes internally, at others, at the end of phrases. The brown-skinned child protagonist is at first swaddled in red baby blankets, then in a similarly colored hoodie—thus, gender is indeterminate, allowing for universal identification while drawing comparisons to two of children’s literature’s iconic characters. The palette shifts from warm and sunny to the dramatic blues and purples of a nocturnal tempest illuminated by lightning as a storm tosses and splinters the child’s raft. The tense has changed from a reflective past to an imagined present or future, with calming assurances: “know that… / you are strong enough. / …you are smart enough. / … you have all you need / to make it through.” As timber is transformed into a shelter for the dog and protagonist, the narrative suggests that both structure and child are “as something new.” From the shimmering foil of the jacket to the contrasting endpapers, this picture book packs substance and style into its compact format.
Exciting, heartwarming, and wise—this truly will resonate with a range of ages.(Picture book. 4-7)