EMILE AND THE FIELD
Written by Kevin Young
Illustrated by Chioma Ebinama
This debut picture book by Young (the poetry editor of The New Yorker and director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture) and Ebinama (a Nigerian American fine artist who as a child never saw characters who looked like her “truly enjoying the outdoors”) is a thing of beauty. From its exquisite endpapers, awash with wildflowers, and its sublime first words that evoke lolling in tall blue grasses, it captivates. Named for Young’s great-grandfather and inspired by his own son, Emile is a boy who “fell in love” with a field, and the field (feeling cared for) loved him back.
40 pp. Make Me a World. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8)
JUST TO SEE
Written by Morgane de Cadier
Illustrated by Florian Pigé
Translated by Johanna McCalmont
Sometimes looking at one thing too intently means you miss out on bigger, more serendipitous delights. At the beginning of this whimsical colored-pencil dream, a girl says she knows the forest she studies with binoculars from her treehouse every day “inside out.” Then suddenly she notices a tree that wasn’t there before, growing high above the rest, and bounds into the woods, “just to see.” When she finds a deer under its “branches,” she asks why he let his antlers get so tall. “No reason, just to see … ,” he says, and gives her free rein to climb them. By the time we reach the two wordless spreads toward the end, where readers can unleash their own imaginations, she’s exploring a whole new universe, from the outside in.
40 pp. Blue Dot Kids. $18.95. (Ages 3 to 7)
LIZZY AND THE CLOUD
Written and illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
At the park, while most kids rush to the new carousel, Lizzy makes a beeline for the “cloud seller.” Instead of choosing a fluffy marshmallow cloud pre-shaped into an animal, she picks an amorphous everyday one. The brilliant Fan brothers show us the miraculous in the ordinary, but unlike the colorful marble in “It Fell From the Sky,” this book’s wonder is in the meh-est of the meh, in your gloriously average “cloudy” day.
56 pp. Simon & Schuster. $18.99. (Ages 4 to 8)
STOP THE CLOCK!
Written by Pippa Goodhart
Illustrated by Maria Christania
When a harried classroom teacher (rush-sketched in charcoal) tells a boy (shown in color) that he’s out of time to finish his picture of what he saw on his dash to school, the boy has a meltdown: “Stop the clock!” All except the boy freeze. Now they’re in color and he’s a shadow. After a “big slow breath,” he adds his baby sister to the painting. “Why is she crying?” he ponders, and runs outside to retrace his steps. He notices that the sky is more than “just bright blue.” There’s “gray and white and … birds in it.” And he notices what made his sister blue, too.
32 pp. Tiny Owl. $16.99. (Ages 4 to 7)
TISHA AND THE BLOSSOMS
Written by Wendy Meddour
Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus
Tisha is catching a blossom in her backyard, listening to the sounds on her way to the bus stop, perusing a book about space, counting a ladybug’s spots when, one by one, her mother, bus driver, teacher and friend say, “Hurry up.” By the time school’s out she’s teary, so she asks her mom for a slowdown. They take a walk by the beach, sit on a bench in the park, savor a picnic with her dad and, yes, catch blossoms as they fall. Egnéus also collaborated with Meddour, using similar mixed media (crayons, watercolor, acrylics, pencil, ink, cut-out collage), on the acclaimed “Lubna and Pebble,” about a child refugee.
32 pp. Candlewick. $17.99. (Ages 2 to 5)
THE DEPTH OF THE LAKE AND THE HEIGHT OF THE SKY
Written and illustrated by Kim Jihyun
Created to share the serenity that the South Korean Kim experienced away from Seoul in “a lakeside town in another country, surrounded by a thick forest of trees,” this wordless debut follows a city boy and his dog on their first immersive encounter with nature. Drawn and painted in writing ink, to show different qualities of light, it’s astonishing to behold.
48 pp. Floris. $17.95. (Ages 4 to 7)
Jennifer Krauss is the children’s books editor of the Book Review.
Source: NY Times