cover image The Hideout

The Hideout

Susanna Mattiangeli, illus. and trans. from the Italian by Felicita Sala. Abrams, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3416-8

Someone calls “Hurry up, we have to go!” But Hannah’s not in her room, “and no one could find her.” She appears to be at the park, sporting a coonskin hat and a slingshot; next, readers see Hannah living there in a brush shelter, prying open a tin can with a knife. A big, bulky beast is soon inside with her, and both wear feathered capes. (“Can I hide with you?” Hannah asks the Odd Furry Creature; “she pretended to hear a yes.”) The two forage and roast food over a small fire, eventually venturing forth from the shelter so Hannah can show the creature the world it’s never seen. The voice summons her again: “Hurry up!” This time, a page turn reveals Hannah at her desk—she’s been drawing the story all along. With affection, Italian author Mattiangeli distills all the charms of living off the land in a few short pages. Sala (She Made a Monster), who both translated and illustrated, paints dreamy, slightly askew landscapes, her rich greens and earth tones set off by Hannah’s red hair and freckles. An encyclopedic spread of foraged items, from feathers to grubs, adds to the adventure’s authenticity. Hannah’s exploits delight—and so does her imaginative power. Ages 4–8. [em](June) [/em]