cover image How Do You Do?

How Do You Do?

Larissa Theule, illus. by Gianna Marino. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-61963-807-5

As the sun bakes the Earth—yellow-washed opening pages by Marino render the heat-induced languor palpable—Water Buffalo and Crane are consumed by their own despair. Then Goat bounds onto the scene with a “How do you do?” and a friendly lick that makes Crane beam. Goat begins to dance “as sudden as summer rain” and the curmudgeonly Water Buffalo snorts but can’t resist dancing, too, “on through the bushes,/ on through the trees,/ on to the next field over.” Framing by Marino (Night Animals) turns equally playful as the characters cavort around a newly green and flowering planet. When Goat runs off in pursuit of a butterfly, Water Buffalo and Crane don’t lapse back into Godot-like misery; instead, they notice the beauty of their surroundings and extend salutations to the animals they now see around them as the lens pulls back, bringing more and more of the planet into view. Theule’s story is not without bumpy spots; it’s not clear whether the rain Goat brings is a metaphor, and readers may wonder why the funny, charismatic animal vanishes without even a goodbye, but the point is well taken: new acquaintances can help “the world feel not so—hot... Nor so small.” Ages 3–6. [em](Jan.) [/em]