cover image Lucy


Randy Cecil. Candlewick, $19.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6808-2

In Cecil’s (Evermore Dragon) town of Bloomville, people flock to vaudeville shows, apartment buildings have stoops, and the neighborhood butcher sports a handlebar moustache. Set over four acts, the story—which could either be considered a very long picture book or a large-format chapter book—follows the lives of three city inhabitants. There’s Lucy, a small stray dog who romps through Bloomville, always on the lookout for food: “She takes a big sniff. These are questionable scraps. Very questionable. She eats them anyway.” Sam, a grocery clerk, is a gifted juggler with stage fright. Eleanor, Sam’s daughter, slips Lucy tidbits when she can. Cozy, repeated sequences, like Lucy’s daily morning dash through the city, “Past Bertolt’s Butcher Shop.... Past the diner with the questionable scraps,” counterbalance the story’s mysteries: How did Lucy lose the luxurious home she often remembers? Why is Sam so terrified? Cecil’s stylized black-and-white oil paintings are framed in circles, focusing each scene as if through a lens. The conclusion unfolds naturally, while Cecil’s understated writing and careful pacing contribute substantially to this sweetly satisfying story. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)