While You’re Away

Thodoris Papaioannou, illus. by Petros Bouloubasis. Minedition, $17.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-66265-005-5
Wild creatures do wonderful things even when no one is around to see them, Papaioannou writes in this meditation on the natural world. “While you’re away from the forest,/ a mother doe might be searching for/ tasty blueberries to feed her fawn/ for breakfast.” Layered artwork by Bouloubasis (The Princess and the Petri Dish) flashes rainbow hues. Doe and fawn are warm orange with lavender shadows; overlapping shapes—darker green for nearby leaves, paler for those farther off—offer a sense of depth and capture the play of light. Some animals enjoy food (“A rabbit might be nibbling on wild pears”), others pursue pleasure (“A lazy lizard might be lying among wild strawberries, enjoying the sun’s warm rays”), and some long for love: “A squirrel might be getting ready/ for the leap of its life to a tree/ where its sweetheart waits.” These “small miracles” happen whether they are observed or not. But, Papaioannou advises, if one is present, “Shh! Just keep/ still and quiet!” By cataloguing small, everyday occurrences, the creators invite readers to imagine, and perhaps to regard, tantalizing moments in nature. Ages 3–5. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/18/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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