cover image Another


Christian Robinson. Atheneum, $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2167-7

Caldecott Honor artist Robinson’s wordless solo debut opens in the middle of the night, when a brown-skinned girl with beaded braids is woken by a disturbance: a black cat that looks just like hers slinks through a glowing hole in her bedroom wall, takes her cat’s mouse toy, and exits. As she and her cat follow, spot illustrations on white spreads show the two in a topsy-turvy journey through portals, over a conveyer belt and Escher-like stairs, and into a ball pit. Eventually, they arrive at a place where children of many ethnicities and appearances play. Each child has “another,” readers see—a double, a twin. Soon, the girl and her cat meet their own doubles, who enter upside down on the opposite page. The girl’s similar returns the toy and the two part happily, order restored. Simple geometric shapes and expanses of empty space make the spreads easy to consider, and Robinson nails the pacing, using each page turn for a comic or conceptual beat. Almost all children wonder whether there are others exactly like them somewhere out in the universe, doing the same thing at exactly the same time. By playing with that idea while juxtaposing similarity and difference, Robinson creates an almost mystical Droste effect of a story that is all mirrors and windows for the group of various children who are offered portals to reach one another. He also creates a speculative world with its own logic, and an adventure that will both puzzle and amuse. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)