cover image The Visitor

The Visitor

Antje Damm, trans. from the German by Sally-Ann Spencer. Gecko, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-776571-88-8

To make the book’s spreads, German artist Damm (Waiting for Goliath) draws the tale’s characters, then places their cutout figures in a small, tidy abode with furnishings crafted of paper and board, and photographs them inside. Apron-wearing Elise likes to clean her home, but she doesn’t like to leave it: “Elise was scared of everything..../ So she never went out./ Night or day.” A blue paper airplane sails in through the window of the dimly lit, grayscale house, and the following morning, there’s a knock at the door. It’s a boy with a red cap and bare feet. “I’m here for my plane,” he says. “And can I visit your bathroom? It’s urgent!” As the boy heads upstairs, he leaves a trail of color behind him, and readers sense that things are going to change. Sure enough, the boy and Elise begin a most unexpected friendship. Elise’s house fills with color—warm yellow, fuchsia, and red—and we see her smile. Damm emphasizes how much people need others to care about, and readers will enjoy going back over the pages to see how the colors change. Ages 6–7. [em](Sept.) [/em]