Vernon Is on His Way: Small Stories

Philip C. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, $19.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-62672-655-0
Vernon, the thoughtful toad who charmed readers in A Home for Bird, returns with his good friends Skunk and Porcupine. In the first of three stories, Vernon waits for one of the world’s slowest forms of transportation (a snail). In the second, the three friends go fishing, but in their own way: “If we see a fish,” Porcupine suggests, “maybe we should say hello.” In the third, Vernon pines for Bird, and Skunk and Porcupine set out to cheer him up. Stead’s expressive, openhearted drawings reveal what Vernon works on when he’s not fishing or remembering Bird. Scribbly lines show green leaves hung from old fishing hooks overhead; they’re part of Vernon’s garden. He creates beauty by foraging for things others have lost or thrown away—red and white fishing bobbers, an old kite. The slow pace, the moments of silence, and the quiet white space in Stead’s spreads are an antidote to frenetic busyness. For Vernon, what matters most is kindness, cherishing one’s friends, and noticing what other people miss. Ages 4–8. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/09/2018
Release date: 06/05/2018
Genre: Children's
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