cover image Zero Local: Next Stop: Kindness

Zero Local: Next Stop: Kindness

Ethan and Vita Murrow. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9747-1

Taut pencil drawings by married collaborators Ethan and Vita Murrow (The Whale) show how art can forge community in public spaces. Meticulously drafted spreads capture the action on an urban train: daily commuters representing a range of ethnicities are already seated when a figure in a skirt and a loud hat steps aboard, a yellow bird perched on one shoulder. “Monday,” reads a date tag in the corner—“Major delays.” The passenger starts drawing, and the girl in the next seat, a child of color in a yellow shirt, is entranced. When the train stops, the artist hands the drawing to the driver, who beams, their vest turning yellow, too. Tuesday and Wednesday (“On time”), similar scenarios unfold, but on Thursday (“Delays”), the artist’s seat is empty, and the girl wilts, then has an idea. On Friday (“Major delays”), she cuts and folds paper creations to dispel tension in the car, and her work produces smiles—and the spread of yellow across the city. Detailed portraits of passengers by the Murrows value each one as an individual. The initial artist, cued as gender fluid, is portrayed as a hero whose powers depend on creativity and loving-kindness. Ages 4–8. [em](Apr.) [/em]