cover image Things to Do

Things to Do

Elaine Magliaro, illus. by Catia Chien. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-1124-7

Newcomer Magliaro constructs a series of whimsical to-do lists whose headers (“Things to do if you are dawn”) offer witty counterpoints to the bursts of poetry that follow: “Shoo away night./ Wash the eastern sky with light./ Wake the sleeping sun:/ Rise and shine!” Magliaro excels at finding powerful verbs (“Flit among flowers./ Sip nectar for hours./ Be yellow and fuzzy./ Stay busy. Be buzzy”), her rhymes are tight and inventive, the vocabulary is challenging without being stilted, and the tempo of each poem varies. Ever thought about being an eraser? “Go on—wear yourself out!” The moon? “Hang in the darkness./ Dazzle the night.” Chien (A Boy and a Jaguar) works in gauzy fields of color, following a dark-haired child and a dog through these flights of imagination—the child jumps off a swing and soars into space like a falling acorn, and later stares at the stars as crickets “Rub wings/ and sing/ a lullaby.” Magliaro’s observations are scientific in their precision and joyous in tone—lovely for parent and child to share, and equally rich as a writing prompt. Ages 3–5. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)