The Pie Reports

Orca Book Publishers. May 2024. 32p. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781459838079.
Gr 1-3–Noor and her grandpa both love connecting over pie in the summers while she visits, but after she returns home Grandpa begins having more blue days and starts missing some of their pie-report check-ins. As the year goes by, the pies they make change, as does Grandpa’s health, but they are anchored by their love of baking and each other. The illustrations change tone with the story, sometimes bright and sometimes more subdued, with each page a mix of cheery yellow and mellow blues. Whimsical moments like a rainbow of pie ingredients are interspersed with their day-to-day activities, such as flying a kite. The story shows, rather than tells, how Noor creates space for Grandpa’s blue days as time passes and his illness progresses. There are people with different skin tones and clothing styles in Noor’s neighborhood and the airport, and Noor and her mother have brown skin, Nana has dark brown skin, and Grandpa has white skin. The story discusses illness and depression with gentleness that helps make the big feelings that can go with them less overwhelming.
VERDICT Touching and playful illustrations complement a story that handles themes of illness, depression, and aging with empathy and understanding.

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