Everyone Gets a Turn

Princeton Architectural Pr. Mar. 2024. 60p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781797227290.
PreS-Gr 3–A game of catch between Bear and Mouse (Hare and Turtle, who are nearby) is enlivened considerably when the ball goes astray and Mouse, during the search, finds an egg. This is the preamble. Each friend will have a turn at tending to Little Egg, and Mouse stars in the first slender chapter. Mouse knits while they chat about the other friends—that Hare’s ears get cold, and thus the knitting project, a hat. At Bear’s home, Little Egg hatches and becomes Little Bird. At Hare’s, Little Bird is hungry. Each vignette is treated like a comic book panel, with a boxed piece of narration in one of the corners, and dialogue in speech bubbles to convey everything else. Dubuc’s watercolorlike illustrations have an Easter-egg palette of warm spring colors; the friends’ homes could not be more welcoming and the atmosphere any more gentle. This is ideal preschool fare, one step up from a board book, with those chapter breaks serving as story-hour breaks for asking questions about what might happen next. Yes, Little Egg will hatch, but the narrative tiptoes into full-blown leaving-the-nest territory when Little Bird builds a house, then takes on a new identity, Clara, and the others begin to question their monikers. The book ends, but there is no reason the philosophical journey has to; this book itself could be used for writing prompts with lower elementary students—what is next?
VERDICT A book that starts simple and ends with complicated notions of identity, scaled to children’s own questioning, ever-evolving minds. Perfect.

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