cover image Maybe Tomorrow?

Maybe Tomorrow?

Charlotte Agell, illus. by Ana Ramirez. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-21488-8

Norris the alligator is optimism personified: he’s so upbeat that a cloud of fluttering butterflies surrounds him wherever he goes. Elba, a pink hippo, couldn’t be more different: she spends her days sitting on a big black block. (“Is it fun?” asks Norris. “Not really. No,” Elba replies.) With Norris’s gentle prodding and willingness to befriend her as she is, Elba reveals that she is mourning the loss of her dear friend, Little Bird (“She taught me to sing. We were hardly ever apart”), and the box gradually shrinks—not disappearing altogether, but growing small enough for Elba to move through the world again, in the company of her new friend. Agell doesn’t make the friendship a teachable moment for irrepressible Norris. He seems to instinctively know how to help his new pal without encroaching on her emotional boundaries; his patient demeanor and her quiet emergence become the story’s narrative. Ramirez’s sunny digitized watercolors echo this hopeful mood with a lightness and energy. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Edite Kroll, Edite Kroll Literary Agency. (Mar.) [/em]