Finding Things

Greenwillow. May 2024. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063245662.
PreS-Gr 2–In a carefully worded script that reads like a sunny morning on slow, Henkes tells what happens when you come across a ball, a flower in the sidewalk, a discarded box, and a kitten. The second-person narration tells you, readers, how to ensure that these objects, having been lost or put aside, can be yours; for example, if you leave the ball where it is for a few days or you ask for a lot of different sorts of permission before taking home the kitten, you may be in the clear. Random choices, these? No, this is a story of simplicity, and what has been found is actually a kitten with a box to sleep in, a ball for it to play with, a flower for it to look at, and a child’s arms to hold it. Dronzek’s deeply hued, pastel-like illustrations, each a tiny painting that seems to hold its breath in anticipation, culminate steadily till readers find themselves at home with the kitten, perhaps as they always knew they’d be. When a seemingly throwaway piece of text, like an object that is lost, sticks around long enough to turn into a story, that’s a picture book. When the illustrations elevate the words the way these do, that’s a masterpiece.
VERDICT A manual for constructing a contented life, this book makes children look deeper and behave with deliberation. And when they do, Henkes says, they are lucky.

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