Pea Pod Lullaby

Glenda Millard, illus. by Stephen Michael King. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0197-0
The Australian duo created this story during a real-time gallery collaboration, a note explains. In loose pencil, colorful wash, and lyrical lines, they portray a refugee family’s journey in the gentlest possible light. King draws a mother with a babe in her arms and an older child and hound running through coils of barbed wire away from a fiery battlefield. Yet the figures’ features betray no trauma. A tiny, scruffy boat awaits them. Millard writes in the prayerful voice of a child addressing a parent, or a loved one addressing the beloved: “I am the small green pea/ you are the tender pod/ hold me.” The sail fills, and the family’s sea journey begins. “I am the drifting boat/ you are the quiet deep/ buoy me.” Their voyage never seems dangerous, and sometimes is sweetly fanciful, as when they rescue a stranded polar bear. At journey’s end, safe refuge awaits. With a story that suggests a flight from violence but does not dwell on it, adults can explain as much or as little to young readers as they are ready to hear. Ages 3–7. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2018
Release date: 12/11/2018
Genre: Children's
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