cover image Big Boys Cry

Big Boys Cry

Jonty Howley. Random House, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5247-7320-5

When Levi, a boy with wavy blonde hair that matches his father’s, expresses anxiety about going to school, “Papa didn’t know what to do. So he told Levi, ‘Big boys don’t cry.’ ” Levi fights tears as he walks from their seaside home, across a boardwalk, a busy town square, and to school in stylized spreads that show a vast sea and characters resembling charming wooden puppets. But en route, he observes a variety of characters expressing emotions: “a fisherman with tears in his eyes, setting off on a long trip,” a weeping harpist, and “passionate poets.” As Levi settles into school, he doesn’t cry; the day isn’t so scary. Back home, though, he finds his father in tears: “It was your first day at a new school... And I was scared.” It’s okay for anyone to express emotions, Howley hints—and parents, too, may need a reminder. Ages 3–7.[em] (June) [/em]