cover image Built to Last

Built to Last

Minh Lê, illus. by Dan Santat. Knopf, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-56917-7

When two kids bump into each other—one wears bright red spectacles, the other has a quiff of dark hair—their individually built block towers go tumbling. But rather than turn on each other, the two, each of whom bear a certain similarity to the book’s creators, become avid construction collaborators. “Working hand in hand, we built things we never could have dreamt up on our own,” Lê writes. Digitally enhanced watercolor and colored pencil drawings by Santat portray how the pair’s increasingly complicated constructions take flight in their merged imaginations, as when an image of the Great Wall of China shown alongside a shaggy dragon is revealed to be a Tinker Toy mélange stalked by a house cat. The collapse of their most ambitious construction momentarily sends each kid to their respective corners, but their remembering “all the times we picked up the pieces and picked each other up” helps them reconcile and move on to another creation. The previous collaborators (Drawn Together) craft a personal-feeling celebration of partnership and a dual portrait of any successful creative pairing. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. Illustrator’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.)