Cao Wenxuan, illus. by Yu Rong. Imprint, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-31006-4
It’s hot—Rong’s (Free as a Cloud) cut paper and pencil pictures show a huge yellow circle hanging low in the sky, and seven animals that live in the parched grasslands are desperate for shade. A tree in the distance promises relief, so the animals race to and fight over it. The elephant hogs the space, then “sucks up dust with his trunk and blows it onto anyone who dares to disagree,” writes Hans Christian Andersen Medalist Wenxuan. The animals quickly realize that the gnarled tree’s leafless branches offer no shade at all, and the shared sense of absurdity both repairs their friendship and opens them up to a new idea: they spot a boy walking in the shadow of his father and decide to follow suit. In a series of graduated pages, Rong depicts each animal offering its shadow as cooling shade to a smaller comrade (the elephant provides a steady breeze by flapping his ears). Their selflessness is rewarded when a big blue cloud floats over them, creating ample shade for all. It’s an exquisitely calibrated fable, with a lyrically plainspoken voice, a vivid sense of atmosphere, and deftly choreographed moments of high drama and humor. Ages 3–6. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/21/2019
Release date: 05/07/2019
Genre: Children's
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