cover image The Umbrella

The Umbrella

Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld. Clarion, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-358-44772-6

Wet, gray weather is no match for the bright spirit of a yellow umbrella–toting child in this buoyant picture book from the creators of Stick and Stone. Though it’s “Dim./ Grim” and raining out of doors, a white-presenting child pulls on galoshes and a slicker to walk an energetic dog: “Gotta go—// rain or snow.” As they hurry through puddles, a clap of thunder sends the pair scurrying under the inviting awning, and through the door, of a curio shop. Emerging from the store with treasure—a bedraggled yellow umbrella tagged “FREE!”—the duo splash home, leaving bits of the umbrella’s tattered canopy in their wake. A few dreary days later (“Drop./ Drop./ Nonstop”), the youth discovers that the umbrella’s remnants have worked a fulsome magic that, with help, powers a sunny community movement. Ferry’s concise, rhyming text deftly captures the rhythm of the rain and the flow of the protagonist’s moods. In his signature loose-lined pencil and watercolor spreads, Lichtenheld delivers expressive, dot-eyed characters shown with ready smiles and various skin tones. The story’s gray backdrop of sheeting, streaking rain fittingly contrasts with the image of a bright yellow umbrella—a favorite symbol adopted by the late author and former Lichtenheld collaborator Amy Krouse Rosenthal, to whose memory this book is dedicated. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)