cover image We Believe in You

We Believe in You

Beth Ferry, illus. by Molly Idle. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-31200-6

In this deceptively simple story, streamlined yet resonant text and art celebrate the importance of self-confidence, familial encouragement, and making the most of one’s unique gifts. Ferry (Swashby and the Sea) and Caldecott Honoree Idle (Flora and the Flamingo) are in sly cahoots as various animals are seen fulfilling the promise of the fluid, inspirational verse. Opening with the phrase, “We believe in,” each frame depicts parents and their offspring demonstrating an innate behavioral characteristic of their species, which also serves as a life aspiration for the human narrator. Armadillos believe “life’s a ball,” mountain goats believe in “climbing higher,” crickets and frogs in “making music,” and peacocks in “being wowed.” Featuring pastel shades and inventive animal poses (beavers on their dam, who believe in “working harder,” face underwater otters, interested in “playing more”), Idle’s pictures balance representational and abstract images and offer clues to help young listeners construe Ferry’s playful references. The collaborators offer plenty of fodder to spark conversation and interpretation, but kids won’t miss the book’s message about the rewards of being, and believing in, oneself. Ages 3–6. [em](Oct.) [/em]