In this picture book about anxiety, Kilgore anthropomorphizes nettling questions as small, erratic critters called Whatifs, who “slink in from unknown places and/ swiftly attach themselves to people,” while relaying the life of Cora, “a nervous girl” of whom the Whatifs are particularly fond. Cora’s looming piano recital causes an influx of grim Whatifs (“What if my fingers shake?
.../ What if I make a mistake?”), until she nearly freezes backstage, covered in the critters. Classmate Stella offers an encouraging perspective, giving Cora the courage to go onstage, but when Cora hits a wrong note, she must decide how to confront the situation. Persico’s atmospheric illustrations aptly reflect Cora’s shifting emotions, and Kilgore successfully balances the whimsical with a tale grounded in reality. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)