cover image What If?

What If?

Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Author . Roaring Brook/Porter $15.99 (32

In this outside-the-box book about friendship, Seeger (Dog and Bear ) pictures a boy kicking a beach ball into the water, and then invites the reader to explore the possibilities of what might happen next. Each of the three stories about three seals is told visually with spare verbal prompts ending in ellipses (“What if...? And what if...? Then what if...?”). In the first two stories, a different seal gets left out of the fun (a closeup of a tan seal's forlorn face is downright heartbreaking), while the third story features all three seals happily playing together. The difference in color between the gray and mauve seals is perhaps a touch too subtle, but readers should be able to keep the animals straight. Seeger unobtrusively underscores each story arc with textured illustrations—sunlight sparkles on the water, gradually sets, and stars appear in the deep blue sky—and provides a deceptively simple but creative introduction to the structure of stories and how simple it is to be a good friend. Ages 3–7. (May)