cover image A Few Blocks

A Few Blocks

Cyb%C3%A8le Young. Groundwood, $18.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-88899-995-5

Many picture books are built on the foundation of children's boundless imagination, and in her first solo effort, illustrator Young (Ten Birds) handles the theme with exceptional grace. It's time for school, but Viola's younger brother, Ferdie, isn't interested. " %E2%80%98Not now,' he said. %E2%80%98Maybe never.' " Resourceful and creative, Viola uses Ferdie's jacket, a leaf, and a piece of cardboard to turn their short walk into three heroic adventures, as they become superheroes, seek buried treasure, and prepare to battle a dragon. With dark eyes and wavy hair, the children feel like distant cousins to Saint-Exup%C3%A9ry's Little Prince. Scenes grounded in reality, when Ferdie throws tantrums and Viola tries to distract or comfort him, are painted in gray, conveying the tenor of those moments. By contrast, their colorful, imagination-powered journeys jump off the page. Young's collages cast shadows on the white background below, with silhouettes of curling waves, sea creatures, and blobby monsters painted in pale blues, greens, and reds and filled in with crisp imagery of the duo's urban neighborhood. With empathy and respect for both characters' emotions, Young presents a loving story of sibling camaraderie. Ages 4%E2%80%937. (Aug.)