cover image Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe

Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe

Troy Howell, illus. by Kathryn Carr. Ripple Grove (Midpoint Trade, dist.), $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-9913866-5-9

Howell (The Dragon of Cripple Creek) and newcomer Carr trace the elaborate journey of a rock after it gets stuck in a girl’s shoe: “ ‘Ow!’ Lizzy said. ‘This just will not do!’/ She flung it, it crashed... in a cricket’s canoe.” Playful details pop up throughout Howell’s rhymes (a trout spits the rock onto a duck’s umbrella, and a bird with a spyglass later spots it balanced on a woman’s hat pin), but it’s Carr’s elegant cut-paper dioramas that command attention. Rendered in warm browns and lit by fiery golden light, their whimsy dovetails nicely with Howell’s verse, while out-of-focus trees and grasses create a lovely sense of three-dimensionality. Carr’s trees feel inspired by the art nouveau movement and, along with characters’ formal attire, seem to plant the story in the early 20th century (a wide-angle view of the park reveals an angel fountain and nearby buildings, suggesting New York City’s Central Park as a possible setting). An ending that brings the rock full circle may leave readers considering the unknowable effects of small, spontaneous actions. Ages 2–7. Author’s agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (May)