cover image Just One Flake

Just One Flake

Travis Jonker. Abrams, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-6011-2

This solo debut from Jonker (Blue Floats Away) sets up its premise with a knockout cover: a pale-skinned child, whose beanie-clad head is tilted back at a 90-degree angle, extends a bright red tongue to catch a hovering snowflake. Inside, boldly graphic brush and digital cartooning with muddy, watercolor-like washes follows the child, named Liam, through several unsuccessful snow-catching strategies, including a tongue-out chase that sends Liam headfirst into a snow drift. Succinct first-person text invites readers in from the get-go, as Liam articulates an unwavering self-determination (“I’m not going back inside until I do it”) then suffers setbacks (“It’s worrrrrking...Not working”). Just when it seems that Liam and a snowflake will never connect, one falls upon Liam’s green mitten, and the child’s eyes widen in astonishment at the flake’s beautiful six-armed symmetry, which holds for a marvelous four-panel moment before melting. Back inside, and post–hot chocolate, Liam is inspired to create a flurry of paper snowflakes—suggesting that fulfilling the spirit, rather than the letter, of a quest can garner significant rewards. Ages 4–8. Agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. (Oct.)