Levi Pinfold. Candlewick/Templar, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7598-1
Pinfold’s (Black Dog) finely worked paintings distinguish this story about a babylike “Greenling” who makes fruit and vegetables grow everywhere. Mr. Barleycorn finds what looks like a giant artichoke near his house under an elevated railway line and comes home with a bright green baby, which he settles in a mound of soil in the kitchen (“We can’t leave him outside for the crows,” he tells his wife). Surreal, marvelously detailed spreads reveal the Greenling’s gratitude; melons twine through the kitchen, and apples grow in the living room. The man welcomes the bounty, but his wife grouses. Yet the next morning, as the railway is overtaken by vines and the neighbors complain, she defends the strange infant: “We should welcome this Greenling into our house/ we’ve been living in his all along!” The Greenling is nature’s bounty personified, it is clear; after delivering autumn plenty for all, he disappears, though Pinfold hints at more to come. The verse-text is oddly heavy-handed, and the allegorical nature of the story keeps the characters at a distance, but Pinfold’s vision of the natural world breaking free of human fetters is captivating. Ages 3–7. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/23/2015
Release date: 02/23/2016
Genre: Children's
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