cover image Leo + Lea

Leo + Lea

Monica Wesolowska, illus. by Kenard Pak. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-30287-5

Math and art combine for a portrait of blossoming friendship in this picture book infused with layers of Fibonacci numbers. East Asian–cued Leo counts his way through the school day: trees, steps, classmates. “ ‘Leo,’ his teacher says,/ ‘count softly, please.’ ” When a new classmate arrives, brown-skinned artist Lea, the pair connect over a shared love of patterns—a discovery made when Leo, during a moment of sensory overwhelm on the playground, notices Lea’s drawing. Wesolowska constructs the narrative so the quantity of words on each page follows the Fibonacci sequence: one (“Leo”), one (“Counting”), and so on, unfurling up to “fifty-five/ daisies” before spiraling in reverse past “Two/ friends.” Creators’ notes detail the sequence and describe the way Pak’s primarily digital renderings work in harmony, relying upon “Fibonacci color hexadecimal code sequences,” which frequently radiate pastel hues. It all adds up to an inventive, affecting story. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)