cover image Hello, Jimmy!

Hello, Jimmy!

Anna Walker. Clarion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-358-19358-6

Jack and his father have worked out a quiet, if melancholy, routine during Jack’s visits: “They made tacos. And milkshakes, too. Sometimes they talked. And sometimes they didn’t.” But when Dad unexpectedly adopts Jimmy, a loud, flamboyantly feathered parrot, Jack’s world is turned upside down—and not, readers will suspect, for the first time. Dad perks up considerably in Jimmy’s presence; the parrot is clever and funny (he mischievously swipes Jack’s toothbrush and underwear), and guests love his antics. “He can walk, he can talk,” Dad says, “He’s amazing!” But Jack, wearing large headphones, presumably to block out the noisy bird, “wished he was amazing too.” A harrowing parrot-themed nightmare—an almost luridly hued scene that breaks with the spare gouache and pencil domestics that precede and follow it—prompts Jimmy’s escape. But the incident proves to be the moment of truth that both son and father need, movingly and quietly reaffirming their connection. Walker (Lottie & Walter) crafts an extraordinarily imagined book, profound in its understanding of the heart, and featuring a feathered Moby-Dick at its center—a figure capable of embodying and reflecting layers of emotional significance and meaning. Ages 4–7. [em]Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Feb.) [/em]