cover image A Special Kind of Love

A Special Kind of Love

Stephen Michael King. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-67681-6

Boxes might seem an odd medium for expressing love, but for the emotionally reserved father in this touching story, they're just the ticket. Boxed in by his inability to articulate his feelings for his son, he transforms boxes (""Big boxes. Round boxes. Small boxes.... All kinds of boxes!"") into kites, castles, bird feeders, go-carts, airplanes and any number of other wonderful things to enchant a small boy. This sensitive tale, an Australian import by a first-time author and illustrator, unfolds in spare prose set against a sweeping backdrop of comical illustrations brimming with energy. King's deft cross-hatching and other distinctive uses of ink refine his casual watercolors, and a childlike sense of play informs his compositions. To show ""small boxes,"" for example, he has Dad adjusting the lens of a microscope; the airplane is the same kind Snoopy flies to fight the Red Baron. The book's sweet, satisfying message will resonate with preschoolers, whose own parental bonds typically form the sum and substance of daily life. Ages 3-7. (May)