cover image We’ll Make Things Better Together

We’ll Make Things Better Together

Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G), illus. by Dow Phumiruk. Penguin/Paulsen, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-11019-5

“Everything is better/ Better when we work together” suggests this message-forward pep talk in verse, which observes collaborative efforts at home and within a racially diverse community. Softly tinted opening vignettes show children portrayed with various skin tones helpfully dispensing toothpaste and finding socks for each other, and different families’ breakfasts each prove a family effort (“Mom pours juice—/ It’s so delicious... // We laugh and sing,/ then clean the dishes”). Next, a group of children arrives at a park and dons gloves to clear litter, then takes a meal to and performs a play for a sick neighbor. A session tending a neighborhood garden and a free-style backyard concert round out this cheerfully rendered day of work and play. Alongside Phumiruk’s crisp digitally finished spreads, Gundersheimer’s lines scan and rhyme satisfyingly. It’s an optimistic starting place for discussions about cooperation and mutual aid. Ages 3–7. (May)