Do You Remember?
Sydney Smith. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4262-1
Smith (My Baba’s Garden) opens this story of remembrance as a pale-skinned adult and child awaken, lying next to each other, open-eyed in the dark. As the pages turn, limpid dialogue and tender, light-filled vignettes show the two taking refuge in shared memories. “Do you remember,” the adult begins, “when we had a picnic in the field?” Scenes show the child searching among daisies “for snakes and bugs” while the sun shines down on the two and a bearded father. A page turn reveals an unexpected prize found by the youth: a handful of wild berries. The duo share more memories—the child learning to ride a bicycle, a rainstorm that knocked out the power—before moving closer to a present in which the father no longer seems to be around (“Do you remember... leaving our home behind?”). Without freighting this portrait of change with context, Smith reveals the two creating a new memory for themselves: the first morning in their new home (“We could smell the bakery from across the street”). It’s a loving familial portrait that envisions intentionality around the process of memory-making. Ages 4–8. Agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/17/2023