cover image Come with Me

Come with Me

Holly M. McGhee, illus. by Pascal Lemaître. Putnam, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3905-8

In the wake of so much news about “anger and hatred—/ People against people,” a girl asks her parents what she can do to help the world. “Come with me,” each tells her, a simple phrase that McGhee (Matylda, Bright and Tender) transforms into an emotionally rich proclamation about not giving into fear. When the girl and her father ride the subway, a tense mood prevails; commuters are giving each other anxious glances. But the two tip their hats in greeting to their fellow passengers and know that their ride has “won a tiny battle/ over fear.” Next, the girl and her mother make a point of shopping at the grocery store in their multicultural neighborhood, “because one person/ doesn’t represent a family/ or a race/ or the people of a land.” By the final page, the girl feels reassured enough to extend the title’s invitation to readers. Lemaître’s (You Are the Pea, and I Am the Carrot) ink-and-watercolor cartoons resonate with a sweet plaintiveness, and while the brief text can sometimes turn overly earnest, it feels like an important first step. Ages 5–8. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Sept.)