cover image Mr. Walker Steps Out

Mr. Walker Steps Out

Lisa Graff, illus. by Christophe Jacques. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-328-85103-1

The white figure in the “Walk” sign knows he has an important job keeping a busy crosswalk safe in this title for fans of Sign Off and Runaway Signs. But simply observing life feels a little hollow: Mr. Walker yearns to “step out of his boxy little house and do something wonderful himself,” writes Graff (Far Away). His carpe diem is the story’s centerpiece: Jacques’s digital drawings, which combine a bright directness with a wealth of details and subtle textures, take the liberated Mr. Walker from simple pleasures (splashing in puddles, enjoying an airplane kiddie ride outside a store) to the marvelous (savoring a metropolis sunset from a spot that resembles New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park). But when Mr. Walker has to rescue a girl stuck in the middle of a crosswalk from oncoming traffic, he realizes that “he was an important part of it all” and heads back in his box—content to take the occasional vacation. Certain to change the way readers regard the “Walk” signs in their world, this story could also open up a discussion about the intersection of work and personal fulfillment. Ages 4–7. [em]Author’s agent: Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management. Illustrator’s agent: Christy Ewers, the CAT Agency. (Aug.) [/em]