cover image That’s Life!

That’s Life!

Ame Dyckman, illus. by Cori Doerrfeld. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-48548-7

In this idiomatic adventure, Life is an impish, furry, and highly mutable critter that, when it emerges from a mysterious crate (one that pops up “when you least expect it”), not only charges toward the young protagonist fast, but also adds a big, slurpy kiss. Life arrives with no instructions, of course, and promptly launches the protagonist on a whirlwind series of vignettes set against a white background—“You never know where Life’s gonna take you,” Dyckman (Dandy) writes as the two bounce from Lady Liberty to Pisa’s leaning tower. As the meaning-of-life clichés deliberately pile up—who knew there were so many?—it’s up to Doerrfeld (Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!) to give them a visual boost; she accomplishes this through crayonlike digital drawings that are by turns semifigurative interpretations (in “Life is what you make it!” Life turns into a raft that takes the child for an exhilarating waterfall ride) and naughtily literal (for “Your whole Life can flash before your eyes,” Life moons the child). The mood is always upbeat—or, at the very least, maintains a “dust yourself off and keep going” attitude—with plenty of reminders that whatever life is, it is for sure one wild ride. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Scott Treimel, Scott Treimel NY. Illustrator’s agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. [em](Mar.) [/em]