cover image Hold Hands

Hold Hands

Sara Varon. First Second, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-588-9

Varon (New Shoes) celebrates the simple gesture of holding hands with a cast of wide-eyed animals whose four-fingered paws are just right for clasping. The furry young protagonist holds hands with its mother while gazing at the morning sky (“Hold hands/ when the day is new”), then with a stuffed monkey; a diapered, binky-sucking sibling; and with a parent on the way to daycare. Throughout the story are subtle nudges toward good citizenship and being part of a community. Animals ride public transit, play with companions of all species and sizes, and follow reasonable guidelines (“Hold hands with your buddy when you’re on the go,/ especially if your teacher tells you so”). Yet the animals’ sweetly vulnerable appearance keeps the book from skewing too earnest. White action lines highlight the hand-holding going on in every spread—in Varon’s world, even the sun and the moon hold hands. Seemingly effortless verse (“Hold hands before pancakes/ and during cheese./ Hold hands to steady your trembling knees”) makes this the kind of readaloud that could find a place among favorites. Ages 3–6. [em](June) [/em]