The Five of Us

Quentin Blake. Tate (Abrams, dist.), $19.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84976-304-2
With his customarily exuberant ink-and-watercolor illustrations, acclaimed author-artist Blake introduces a diverse quintet of "amazing" children with distinct supernatural abilities. Angie, with brown skin and a curly ponytail, "could see a sparrow sitting on top of a statue five miles away." Her friend Ollie wears glasses, but his sense of hearing is equally powerful, and Mario (who uses a wheelchair) and Simona "could lift anything you could think of." Rounding out the group is quiet Eric, who says little besides "erm," but is just as amazing, Blake assures readers. During a bus trip to the countryside, their older companion/driver falls ill; Eric comes through when he's needed most, letting loose a booming "HELP!" that results in a cliff-top helicopter rescue. It isn't entirely clear whether Blake intends to show Eric as developmentally disabled, a stutterer, or simply a bit of an introvert. All are reasonable interpretations, but the message about talents coming in all shapes and sizes (and from all sorts of people) is loud and clear, regardless—just like Eric himself when the situation calls for it. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/23/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
Genre: Children's
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