cover image Soon, Your Hands

Soon, Your Hands

Jonathan Stutzman, illus. by Elizabeth Lilly. Knopf, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-593-42707-1

“Tonight,” writes Stutzman (The Mouse Who Carried a House on His Back), channeling three sets of caregivers’ monologues, “I hold your hands,/ so small/ they fit inside my own.// But soon,// your hands will grow./ And learn.” In loose-lined watercolor and ink art by Lilly (The Catalogue of Hugs), three families are shown living side by side in a block of palm-shaded, brightly colored row houses. In one, a family portrayed with brown skin prepares for a birthday party. Next door, a brown-skinned child who wears hearing aids and uses sign language takes a trip to the beach. And in the semidetached home on the end, a pale-skinned child spends days with an older adult—perhaps a grandparent—while a younger adult works a night shift. Each family cherishes the child in their midst, savoring moments of closeness, encouraging independence, and dreaming of the fully realized adults their offspring will become. Building on anticipatory text, empathic art chronicles the children’s respective forays into autonomy: decorating a parent’s birthday cake, braving the expansiveness of the ocean, and adopting a stray kitten while working at a community garden. By book’s end, readers will be invested in each of these families across time—and perhaps wish to be their neighbors, too. An ASL glossary concludes. Ages 3–5. Agent (for author and illustrator): Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Mar.)