cover image Delivery


Anastasia Suen. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-88455-1

This picture book, about the many kinds of things that get delivered and how they are transported, takes readers on a disorienting ride. The driver of a truck marked ""Daily News"" stops for gas before dawn in the opening and closing images of the volume, acting as bookends to one day's deliveries. But the variety of items passing through the spreads makes the book feel disjointed. For instance, ""Boxes and cans/ come in trucks and vans"" shows a delivery man entering a grocery market, but for the next spread, ""Unwrap it all/ for shelves on the wall"" shows two women in Howe's apparel shop. Suen's spare text lacks the lyrical quality of her previous book, Window Music, also illustrated by Zahares (e.g., ""Wheels and wings/ carry many things"" and ""Containers wait/ at number eight""). Zahares's strongly modeled, geometrically precise paintings set complementary colors together for high contrast, but muddy brownish tones predominate. The artwork seems constrained by the text; the clamor of buildings, cans, shirts or pipes detracts from the fresh interior perspectives and the wavy, willfully distorted landscapes that underpin the compositions. The artist creates a hint of a through line for the narrative: for example, a shopper carries a Howe's clothing bag in the food market; a truck from the florist shop in one spread is pictured traveling down a busy avenue in the next. But these visual connections do not completely compensate for what the text does not deliver. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)