cover image 5 Cherries

5 Cherries

Vittoria Facchini, trans. from the Italian by Anna Celada. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $18.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-59270-222-0

After a mother gives five cherries to her two children, eating them is almost the farthest thing from their minds. Initially, Italian author-illustrator Facchini appears to be setting up a Goofus and Gallant scenario in her U.S. debut. “What am I gonna do with only 5 cherries?” moans one child. The other is grateful and excited: “Thanks, Mom, all these? So many?” But both quickly fall under the spell of the cherries, and they regale each other (and readers) with their ever-changing plans for them. “I’ll be a jester! And I’ll do a jiggety-jester-jig,” shouts one, dancing with abandon as the long-stemmed berries resemble the dangling bells of a jester’s cap. The other child takes a quieter path on a opposite page, setting up an impromptu imaginary tea party. The children’s genders aren’t specified, and they’re so similar in appearance that it isn’t always clear who’s who—and it doesn’t matter in the least. Facchini’s wildly expressive paintings—part Ralph Steadman, part Chris Raschka—immerse readers in the siblings’ vivid scenarios, games, and interactions. It’s a vibrant reminder of the almost boundless capacity of a child’s imagination. Ages 5–8. (June)