cover image The Knowing Book

The Knowing Book

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Boyds Mills, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59078-926-1

“The sky has always been above you, is above you now, and will always be above you. Count on it. It is what you will always know.” Dotlich (Race Car Count) urges readers to take risks (“explore those trails not drawn on paper”) and develop discernment, but her verse can slide into hazy obscurity, as when she describes “chanting clocks that hang on the walls of dreams.” Cordell’s ink-and-wash drawings give the pages life and humor, and he imagines the “you” Dotlich addresses as a skinny, eager rabbit with unruly ears and a purple scarf. When Dotlich writes, “When you blow a whistle or a bubble or a horn, it is followed by an echo or a pop or a song.... this is the ballad of your own breathing,” Cordell (Lost. Found.) shows the rabbit creating a joyous, kaleidoscopic stream of musical notes and stars. There’s no mention of friends or family in the text, but Cordell supplies the rabbit with smiling parents and a cozy burrow. His gentle artwork redeems this secular, follow-your-bliss inspiration. Ages 5–up. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Feb.)