Three Squeezes

Jason Pratt, illus. by Chris Sheban. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-31345-4

“When you could neither talk nor stand,/ life’s hourglass still filled with sand” begins this lyrical picture book. The titular “three squeezes” refers to the many different kinds of embraces between a loving father and his son throughout their lives together, starting with “three soft squeezes” when the boy is an infant and ending with those that the now-adult child gives his parent “when I can neither talk nor stand.” Each textual set of squeezes is rendered in calligraphic typography with a slightly different modifier: after a nightmare, the father gives the son “three long squeezes”; the two make up after an argument with “three strong squeezes.” Love You Forever fans will appreciate debut author Pratt’s literary versifying. Illustrations by Sheban (What a Cold Needs), which combine bighearted cartooned renderings with warm washes of color and luminosity, strike just the right notes of comedy (when the boy screams at night, the family cat arches its back) and poignancy (the family dog, initially a puppy, ages along with its young owner). Thanks to his artistry, time flies sweetly. Ages 3–6. [em]Author’s agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary. (Aug.) [/em]