cover image The Infinite Questions of Dottie Bing

The Infinite Questions of Dottie Bing

Molly B. Burnham, illus. by Fanny Liem. Dial, $17.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-40666-3

Ten-year-old Dottie Bing processes grief surrounding her grandmother Ima’s death in this earnest novel by Burnham (the Teddy Mars series). Following Ima’s passing, Dottie’s mission of building a tree house to honor her (“She told me how she was sure that if there was a tree house to play in, she would have been the happiest kid in the world,” Dottie says) is interrupted by her grandfather Walter’s sudden decision to stay with Dottie and her parents. Dottie feels that Walter’s grief is something she needs to fix, believing that if she can make him happy, “everything will be perfect.” She endeavors to figure out a new plan with her trans friend Sam, who’s working through complicated feelings regarding his mother’s pregnancy, and cantankerous neighbor Miles, who’s navigating uncertainty amid his parents’ divorce. Tender b&w illustrations by Liem artfully depict the youths’ adventures. As Dottie learns more about her grandfather and works through her own feelings of loss—which manifest as metaphorical “animals” churning in her stomach—she maintains a curious, constantly questioning attitude. Through Dottie’s evolving, conciliatory relationship with grief-stricken Walter, Burnham conjures a warm and compassionate tale about myriad paths toward healing. Characters read as white. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)