cover image Beneath


Cori Doerrfeld. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-31226-4

In a bad mood, young Finn sits on a bed under a multicolored quilt, uninterested in discussing the situation: “No. You won’t understand,” they say. But Finn grumpily complies when Grandpa suggests a walk, and meanders along still underneath the quilt. “Don’t worry,” says Grandpa. “I’ll remember to think of what’s beneath.” Their walk through a coastal forest landscape shows all that “beneath” can mean across places and species. Grandpa meditates on the root systems under trees, and the wealth of sea life below a fishing boat offshore. Heavy, charcoal-like outlines give an organic feel to the digital artwork as the quilt starts to come down around Finn’s shoulders. “And people?” Finn asks. “Of course!” Grandpa replies, “Everyone is more than what you see. Beneath appearances are experiences. Beneath actions are explanations. Beneath what’s different is what’s the same.” Under Grandpa and Finn’s pale-skinned exteriors, Doerrfeld (Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!) shows in a sobering moment, are broken hearts missing the same person, which context clues suggest is the maker of the quilt Finn’s been huddled under. It’s a subtle message buoyed by thoughtful cross- sectional reveals, which include the skeletons within animals, and a fetus growing inside a gestating parent. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Jan.)