cover image La La La: A Story of Hope

La La La: A Story of Hope

Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Jaime Kim. Candlewick, $17.99 (72p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5833-5

A small girl with blunt-cut hair and a determined look shuts her eyes and folds her hands. “La,” she sings. She tries a few more notes: “La La La.” Nothing happens. She wanders across the pages and outdoors, singing to falling maple leaves. They don’t sing back. She sings to the starry purple sky. Nothing. She drags a ladder outside and climbs up to the full moon: “La La.” No response. Though the girl is singing, she’s not performing or showing off. She’s simply saying: “See me! Acknowledge me! Play with me!” And though recognition is a long time coming, when the full golden moon finally sings back to her, it’s a triumph. Kim’s spreads form a long, almost cinematic sequence. The girl is adorable, though the night world she moves through is dazzling rather than cute—it takes bravery and audacity to sing to that beauty. DiCamillo’s story, told with a single word, is one even youngest readers can understand. Everyone wants to be seen, and everyone wants someone to sing back to them. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Easton, Painted Words. (Oct.) [/em]