cover image Kali’s Song

Kali’s Song

Jeanette Winter. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-87022-4

Winter (The Watcher) takes a break from picture-book nonfiction to tell the story of Kali, a boy from prehistoric times. He’s skinny, friendly-looking, and wears fur, and he’d rather play his bow like a musical instrument than shoot with it. “Soon you’ll be a man,” his mother tells him, pointing to the horses she’s painted on their cave wall. “Soon you’ll hunt and kill wild animals like these.” But Kali’s bow playing draws even the immense mammoths the bowmen in his tribe are pursuing: “They had heard the sounds from his bow and had come to listen.” Kali’s people recognize the boy as a shaman. Once Kali understands who he is and what he must do, the pressure to conform falls away; it’s a story of a society that recognizes and respects those who are different. Winter’s cheerful, stripped-down figures and collage landscapes, in deep blues and ochres, make Kali’s path understandable and accessible even to young readers, and her vision of a life lived in perfect harmony with the universe—even the stars listen to Kali’s music—is full of hope. Ages 4–8. Agent: Susan Cohen, Writers House. (Mar.)