All the Animals Where I Live

Philip C. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-62672-656-7
In the meditative manner of his Ideas Are All Around, Caldecott-winner Stead looks at the animals in his neighborhood, and at his own life. He recalls the only bear he’s ever met, a stuffed bear named Frederick (“My Grandma Jane gave me Frederick when I was three years old”). He remembers Grandma Jane’s house, which had a room that “always smelled like maple syrup.” He examines the creatures he sees, and the changing seasons (“Summer comes and goes. The wind knocks the apples to the ground”). Soon, there’s “nothing but snow. And the smell of maple syrup.” This quiet closing line evokes Grandma Jane’s love and the way it follows him into adulthood; if she were a hummingbird, he muses earlier in the book, “she would fly to where I live now.” Stead’s thoughts wander, and so do his drawings. His dog’s whiskers and mild gaze are captured with scribbly charcoal lines; blades of grass behind a cricket under the full moon are brushed in unerring ink strokes. It’s a journey with an artist who sees the eternal in the everyday. Ages 4–8. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/18/2017
Release date: 03/06/2018
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