cover image The Red Tin Box

The Red Tin Box

Matthew Burgess, illus. by Evan Turk. Chronicle, $17.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7973-5

On her eighth birthday, red-spectacled Maude, portrayed with brown skin, buries a precious red tin box beneath a young dogwood tree, and then makes a promise to herself. Over successive spreads, Turk (Hello, Moon) fast-forwards, painting portraits of Maude maturing: wearing a mortarboard, expecting a child, and welcoming a grandchild, too. But “Maude never forgot the red tin box,” even as its specific contents slowly disappear from her recollection. One day, Maude, now silver-haired, is “seized with a feeling.” She picks up her granddaughter, Eve, from school; they drive “four towns over,” find the house and the dogwood, and start digging. Burgess (Make Meatballs Sing) writes a moving description of the two traveling together; Maude reminiscing, Eve listening wide-eyed. Bold paintings by Turk glow with sunset hues and sweeping forms, but also get close enough to the figures to show their facial expressions—even the tears in their eyes as they bond. In a tale of keepsakes hidden and found, Maude embodies the way that a grandparent’s love can offer intimacy, authenticity, and a signpost for staying true to oneself. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Book Group. (Apr.)