cover image The World and Everything in It

The World and Everything in It

Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-324564-8

Serene reflectiveness flows through this meditation by Henkes (Little Houses), whose simple prose initially segments the universe into two camps: “big things and little things.” An early spread shows both: a grown, gnarled tree is pictured against billowing clouds on a grassy rise; a seedling grows beside it. In subsequent pages, framed spreads display diminutive entities: “Little animals.// Tiny flowers.// Pebbles.// Things so small you can’t see them.” Shown against backgrounds of white, they evoke the objective calm of encyclopedia illustrations. Next come the big things, including “The sea.// The sun.// The moon.” Humans are in the middle, and able to interact with both, having “some of the little things”—spreads show children of various skin tones holding the items—and fragments of big things, too. “The moon is big,/ but you can see all of it/ out the window in your bedroom.” But how big is big? How small is small? “Most of the things are in-between,” straightforward text concludes. “Like you./ And me.” Spare images and text, and an almost reverent stream of thought, helps illuminate humans’ comparative scale in the wide, variously populated world. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)