cover image Grasshopper


Tatiana Ukhova. Greystone Kids, $18.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-77164-692-5

A wordless story by Russian artist Ukhova imagines a red-haired, pink-skinned child with freckles blundering into a small universe beneath their feet. Sunbathing amid lush green growth, and sporting a comically large pair of sunglasses, they are initially annoyed with ants discovering their nose, then begin studying the ants and anthill. They first spy a green caterpillar—introducing it to the ants leads to its untimely end—and then a scarablike blue beetle that flies in unpredictable directions, making a path through the air that’s traced in scriptlike curlicues. Then the child finds the grasshopper, seen in dramatic close-up. It’s not just interesting; it’s downright glamorous, with flashy red legs and threadlike antennae. The child gives it a home, and a companion—but not for long. Ukhova works in broad painted lines, bathing everything in vibrant color and capturing the protagonist’s quickly changing emotions—dismay, amazement, absorption, fondness—as the wild animals, the human included, engage in a display of nature’s chaotic nature. Instead of an idealized view of a young expert at work, Ukhova’s child acts out of believable curiosity and impulse, and is observed as closely by readers as the insects. Ages 4–7. [em](May) [/em]