Little, Brown. Jan. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316312264.
K-Gr 4–“Don’t worry,” said Grandpa. “I’ll remember to think of what’s beneath.” Doerrfeld’s impeccably layered story shares the beauty of the world and the need to explore emotions. The story of a grandpa and his unhappy, quilt-hidden grandchild, Finn, unfolds gradually. Opening with the grandpa’s adage to “think of what’s beneath,” it begins by looking closely at nature. Grandpa convinces Finn (they are both cued white) to go for a walk and the world peels back, revealing subterranean wonders of oceans and forests, splashes of detailed color in flora and wildlife. It goes further, investigating the people who are surrounding the pair. Thought bubbles cut into the histories, desires, and hopes these folks carry around. Finally, after the examination of the world and the other people, the inspection beneath focuses on the characters themselves, sharing the heartbreaking motivation behind this walk. Grandpa and Finn commiserate, sharing their feelings and even the quilt as they take this understanding and use it toward a better world. The illustrations are even richer on the second read.
VERDICT Artistically and emotionally compelling, this book shows how consideration of others can lead to peace within ourselves. A book for a wide range of readers, brisk enough for the very young and affecting enough for older ones.

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