What If You Wish?

HarperCollins. Mar. 2024. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063036130.
PreS-Gr 2–A small girl with white skin and dark double ponytails makes a wish on a dandelion, sparking her confidence and imagination. She pictures herself with wings, soaring among the clouds, full of hope. “But what if a stormy wind clouds possibility with questions and drowns promises with shouts?” The book’s yellow palette shifts to grays, blacks, and purples as self-doubt creeps in and the girl’s bright, wide-open world takes on new dimensions, leaving her lonely and deflated. She wonders if hope is enough to sustain a dream. Ultimately, she is buoyed by the same imaginative spirit that stirred her to begin with. “What if a wish met by wonder makes the impossible possible?” Appert’s illustrations are rich and encompassing, as if readers are side-by-side with the protagonist on a journey through a landscape of optimism, despair, and finally, renewed faith. The text is spare, with a careful simplicity that suits the subject matter. This is a tough topic, but one that many children will be able to understand. A thoughtful and striking ode to imagination and its power to soothe a doubting mind, this would make a nice choice for a child struggling with anxiety or self-esteem issues.
VERDICT A worthy title to share at story hours or with families who are looking for books on emotions, this one deserves a place on the shelf.

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