cover image North, South, East, West

North, South, East, West

Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Greg Pizzoli. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-026278-5

This poetic tale from the author of Goodnight Moon is no less fresh for having lain unpublished for so long. A mother bird prepares her nestling to fly away to a home of her own, teaching her “to fly above and below the storms,/ and to glide on the strength of the wind.” The young bird wonders, “When I fly away, which is best?/ North, South, East, or West?” Pizzoli (Good Night Owl) uses friendly paint-box hues for his plump birds and forest trees, superimposing simple, fuzzy-edged shapes like layers of tissue paper. The young bird’s light blue wings, where they overlie her red body, turn dusky lilac; leaves turn darker green. The bird’s search takes her to an icy blue North (too cold), a lush South (too hot) and a sunny West, “but the East was home,” and when she returns to build a nest there, her life comes full circle as her nestlings repeat her words. Exploring both the urge to explore and the desire for the familiar, Brown’s story speaks directly to longings at the core of childhood. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)