cover image Circle of Thanks

Circle of Thanks

Susi Gregg Fowler. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-10066-3

The drama and interconnectedness of the natural world swirl through this luminous picture book set on the Alaskan tundra. An unnamed boy and his mother venture into the spring sunshine, gorgeously depicted as bands of color in Catalanotto's (The Painter) striking watercolors. When Mama rescues an otter pup that has fallen into icy water, the otter seemingly responds by later performing a good deed for an injured raven. Thus, a chain of kind acts is set in motion, from animal to animal, throughout each season of the year. In the end, an arctic fox plays a role when the boy injures himself and cannot get home as a snowstorm approaches. In evocative language, Fowler (I'll See You When the Moon Is Full) introduces a somewhat exotic, isolated region of wide-open spaces, where humans are completely in tune with and responsive to nature; a gentle humor keeps the tone from being earnest or precious. She also effectively relays bits of information about the wildlife and flora indigenous to Alaska as well as basic animal behavior. Catalanotto's delicately lit art fluidly renders the beauty of a rugged wilderness in both summer bloom and winter snow. Thanks to imaginative perspectives, the interactions between his animals seem spontaneous and dynamic. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)