cover image What a Beautiful Morning

What a Beautiful Morning

Arthur A. Levine, illus. by Katie Kath. Running Press Kids, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7624-5906-3

Noah’s grandfather has always been boisterous and full of song, launching each day with a signature catchphrase—“What’s on the docket?”—that promises nonstop fun. But this summer, Grandpa’s memory is failing him, and he doesn’t always recognize Noah; Kath’s (More Than Enough) watercolors depict the older man with the radiance literally drained from his face. While never mentioning a specific medical condition, Grandma tells a devastated Noah that “we have to appreciate what he still has, not focus on what he’s lost.” As Noah comes to terms with his new relationship with Grandpa, including learning that singing can still connect them to each other, his sense of the world widens: he can have “his own docket” (acting independently in the world), as well as a docket with Grandma, who, one senses, has always been a willing second banana to her lively husband. It’s a lovely, bittersweet story, and Levine (Monday Is One Day) carefully modulates a challenging emotional arc, offering readers just the right measure of hope. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Susan Cohen, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Associates. (Aug.) [/em]