cover image A Big Surprise for Little Card

A Big Surprise for Little Card

Charise Mericle Harper, illus. by Anna Raff. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7485-4

Little Card, a wallet-size rectangle with anthropomorphic features, discovers his calling in this enjoyable but scattered story from Harper (Superlove). Little Card lives with an array of other cards destined to be postcards, price tags, file folders, and more. A postal mix-up results in Little Card attending birthday card school, but eventually he gets where he’s supposed to be, becoming a library card for a girl named Alex. Raff (Zora’s Zucchini) adopts a pastel palette for her digitally assembled collages; while skillfully executed and all-around lovely—an especially nice scene has Little Card and Alex assembling a rainbow of books on the library floor—they never quite capture the energy of Little Card, who shows up at the library booming “Happy Birthday!” and then, after being corrected, “Happy Library!” The story, meanwhile, proceeds in fits and starts as it moves from the details of Little Card’s home life to his birthday-card training and his library explorations with Alex, with a few musical numbers in the mix, too. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt Agency. (Feb.)