cover image What I Like Most

What I Like Most

Mary Murphy, illus. by Zhu Cheng-Liang. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0940-2

In a lilting, lighthearted voice, a girl with neat black braids speaks to readers as she looks out her window: “I see the mailman at the red gate./ I see a blackbird in my tree/.... This window is what/ I like most in the world.” A page turn, and she’s shown with a piece of jammy toast: “Except for apricot jam..../ Apricot jam is what I like most in the world.” Her flashing shoes, a nearby river, and the pencil she draws with all take a turn as the child’s favorite thing even as she sees that the objects may change with time. She may outgrow her shoes; the river, Heraclitus-tinged, “races along”; her pencil “will be all used up, and it will disappear.” At last she considers the person she likes best: “you are what I like/ the very, very most in the world.” Zhu (Benny Bear Learns a Lesson) uses delicate lines and watercolors to render sturdy, appealing figures living amid lots of cozy domestic details: a painted dish, a plaid coat. Murphy (Crocopotamus) sensitively broaches the prospect of ephemerality while assuring children that, for now, their pleasures are theirs to enjoy. Ages 3–7. [em](Apr.) [/em]