cover image Jigsaw: Mystery in the Mail

Jigsaw: Mystery in the Mail

Bob Graham. Candlewick, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-2499-3

When the Kelly family receives a jigsaw puzzle in the mail, the package has no return address—just an unsigned card that reads “Good luck to you all.” What follows—for jigsaw puzzle fans, anyway—is almost too painful to relate. In softly tinted watercolor and ink art, Graham (Ellie’s Dragon) conjures “a beautiful jigsaw—an African sunrise,” depicting a bunch of animals captured in mid-air above a swimming hole. As the white-presenting family dives in, images reveal almost immediately to readers that a piece has gone missing, planting the seed for the comedy gold that ensues. Months later, Dad sees the hole in the all-but-finished puzzle (“ONE PIECE IS MISSING!”), and the highly invested family heads to the paper recycling center to search for the missing piece, in the process sorting through fragments of memory and time: letters of love and sorrow, train tickets, and newspapers. The ending of this beguiling little gem resolves one mystery but leaves another open-ended, cleverly meditating on the way that slow-burn quandaries and jigsaw puzzle time—both of which move in seasons, not seconds—can be conducive to contentment. Ages 3–7. (July)