cover image The Weaver

The Weaver

Thacher Hurd, illus. by Elisa Kleven, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-38254-4

Kleven's (A Carousel Tale) intricately worked paintings, delicate as Easter eggs, depict a girl in a simple red dress sitting on a cloud overlooking the earth. She weaves together everything that happens each day, creating from the world's experiences "a coat to warm us/ and protect us,/ a coat to fill us with joy." When day is done, writes Hurd (Bad Frogs), "she spreads the cloth/ like a coat across the night sky./ The stars and the moon are its buttons;/ its pockets are filled with our memories." Kleven's tableaus depict an idyllic, miniature world: tiny cities, herdsmen, dancers, and birds dot both the earth below and the weaver's fluttering tapestry. Hurd's lilting words lie somewhere between lullaby and theology, an anodyne for sleepy listeners and an alternative to conventional religious understanding. But while Kleven's people and landscapes represent a diversity of races and traditions, the quasi-divine weaver herself has white skin and rosy cheeks. It's the faintest of off-notes in a book meant to include all of humankind. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)