cover image Emily’s Blue Period

Emily’s Blue Period

Cathleen Daly, illus. by Lisa Brown. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (56p) ISBN 97

Daly (Prudence Wants a Pet) offers a picture book with a middle-grade sensibility, examining the way that creating art can help dispel distress—in this case, the sadness that accompanies parental separation. Emily is already interested in art when her teacher introduces the class to Picasso: “Things in his paintings weren’t where you’d expect them to be.” When Emily’s father moves into his own apartment, things aren’t where Emily expects them to be, either. Holding a book about Picasso like a shield, she tells her mother why she can’t complete her art project: “I am in my blue period.” Brown (29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy) keeps her pencil and watercolor drawings simple and lucid, while Daly ably balances sentimentality and wit, as when Emily discovers Picasso’s long full name and renames herself “Emily Emilia Rosita Jenny... Igor de la Eyeball Montoya Fluffy Pinchner.” When Emily is able at last to make a collage about her home, Daly conveys believable affection without sinking into soppiness. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Meredith Kaffel, DeFiore and Company. Illustrator’s agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (June)