cover image If You Live Here

If You Live Here

Kate Gardner, illus. by Christopher Silas Neal. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-286532-8

This lighthearted meditation on dwelling places spotlights a range of homes with fanciful requirements for their denizens. “If you live in a tree house...” Gardner (How to Find a Fox) begins, “you’ll need to be a good listener.” In boldly hued art, Neal (Prairie Boy) paints two brown-skinned children in an elaborate tree house: one converses with a squirrel by tin-can phone, while the other listens to a record player via headphones. (They are not, however, listening to the adult calling and gesturing in the distance.) “If you live in a spaceship,” text continues, “keep curious, for there is wonder all around.” Inside the spaceship, two figures look out the portholes on one side of the ship while aliens in space suits peer inside on the other. A train (“Everything changes”), a burrow (“Everyone snuggles”), a candy store—all present repeating visual elements to discover and provocative possibilities to consider, and a final spread ties together the fizzy daydreams captured between the pages of a book. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)