cover image Outside, Inside

Outside, Inside

LeUyen Pham. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-79835-0

Slowly, deliberately, Pham (Love Is Powerful) explores what changed about the world when Covid-19 hit. A street full of adults, children, dog walkers, and grandparents empties in the turn of a page: “Everybody who was OUTSIDE.../ ...went INSIDE.” A black cat with a judicious eye roams the story’s pages, gathering its disparate events into one narrative thread. “Well, almost everyone.” Patients lie in hospital beds, tended to by health workers swathed in PPE. Others wait at home: “Some of us worked a little, some of us worked a lot... and some of us couldn’t work at all.” In one spread, friends and neighbors stand in groups, some shown in faded blue instead of full color; they’re the ones who didn’t make it, or who might not have. “So why did we all go inside?” Pham asks. “Mostly,” she explains, “because everyone knew it was the right thing to do.” The word virus is not mentioned: it’s not a story that presents the science behind the pandemic. Instead, the Caldecott Honoree offers a record of a period of difficulty, a testimony both to loss experienced and moments of unexpected good. A moving author’s note is included. Ages 3–6. [em]Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Jan.) [/em]