In

Nikki McClure. Abrams Appleseed, $16.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-4197-1486-3
It’s hard to imagine how McClure’s creations could get any better, yet her cut-paper compositions continue to grow more inventive and fluid. A boy in pajamas sits on the floor with his yellow toy giraffe, playing with blocks. “I only want to stay in.... Inside. In. In. In.” His unseen caretaker gives him all the time he needs. He builds, reads (even on the toilet), and eats marmalade on hot popovers. A wicker laundry basket figures prominently in his play; when he burrows down into it, the contrast between the softness of his hair and the basket’s stiff weave is a small miracle. Eventually, the boy has had enough. Now he dashes “Outside. Outdoors. Out. Out. Out,” where he hangs from dark branches and hunts for owls, finding—with the aid of a flashlight—a treeful of them, which McClure presents in a show-stopping gatefold spread. Intimacy, a love of the natural world, and veneration for the needs and perceptions of childhood ground this affectionate portrait of the richness and value of unrestricted, unprogrammed play. Ages 2–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/19/2015
Release date: 03/03/2015
Genre: Children's
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