cover image In the Dark

In the Dark

Kate Hoefler, illus. by Corinna Luyken. Knopf, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-37283-8

Via a perspective-oriented picture book that’s printed to flip vertically, the creators delicately explore a community divided. On upper pages, Hoefler’s conversational text introduces a woods, and figures within, as they’re seen by members of an external community (“They came in the dark and took the narrow path that only witches used. Everyone said that’s what they were”). Glimpses of action unfolding within the forest, meanwhile, are rendered on bottom pages, narrated by a pale-skinned child who’s part of the group being whispered about (“It was a woods full of birds”). Inky multimedia images by Luyken offer a limited view into the woodland, where greens, purples, and yellows hint at the true occurrences taking place. Slowly, readers come to understand the alternate meaning behind the broom-like objects transported, the nighttime bonfire, and the “dark shapes flying over the ridge,” whose silhouettes resemble those of Halloween witches. With genuine emotion, the creators cleverly portray both the split community, and the whisperers’ remorse when they learn they are mistaken. Human figures are portrayed with various skin tones. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)