cover image All Welcome Here

All Welcome Here

James Preller, illus. by Mary GrandPré. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-15588-7

The creator of the Jigsaw Jones series switches creative tacks with this sequence of haiku that propels classmates through a busy opening day of school, highlighting their activities, personalities, and emotions. In the spirit of the title, a new friend defuses a girl’s anxiety (“This morning she clung/ To her mother’s knees, so scared./ Now look—a kind face!”), and name tags show students where to sit (“At every desk,/ A chair with tennis-ball feet,/ A place just for you”). The tempo accelerates when it’s time to exercise (“We jiggle, wiggle,/ Jump and stretch”), and imaginations soar on the reading rug (“She wrestles with bears,/ Travels to faraway lands”). In mixed-media art featuring an array of vibrant colors, textures, and patterns, Caldecott Honoree Grandpré captures the day’s variable moods in pictures of absorbed, interacting kids of various skin tones and abilities. Though references to a backpack full of “new stuff!” and binary “girls and boys” perhaps welcome fewer than the title’s promised “all,” the book offers a cheery take on the joys of camaraderie. Ages 4–7. [em](June) [/em]