cover image Things That Go Away

Things That Go Away

Beatrice Alemagna. Abrams, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4482-2

This simple, beautiful creation by Alemagna (Child of Glass) does what it says on the tin: looks at transience. “In life, many things go away. They transform,” Alemagna starts. Each spread uses a page of translucent vellum to show something that’s there atop a background—and then, just as suddenly, gone. Here, a bird appears on the vellum in black ink, perched on someone’s outstretched finger; a page turn makes it disappear. Music, soap bubbles, tears, lice, autumn leaves—all there, and then gone. Against Alemagna’s expressive signature paintings, lyrical lines of verse, gracefully rendered by an uncredited translator, use tangible disappearance as a metaphor for unseen emotion: “Bad weather goes away” (the vellum shows streams of raindrops) “and so does fear” (a monster spreads its batlike wings over a frightened girl). A final page finds something that doesn’t disappear with the turn of a page: “But one thing doesn’t go away, and never will,” attends a spread of a parent embracing a child. A readaloud that introduces a rich field of big questions. Ages 4–8. [em](Mar.) [/em]