cover image The Little Blue Cottage

The Little Blue Cottage

Kelly Jordan, illus. by Jessica Courtney-Tickle. Page Street Kids, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62414-923-8

In blank verse, newcomer Jordan explores the bond between a girl and her seaside summer home: “They grew up together/ from summer to summer./ The little blue cottage. / The little bay girl.” Jordan portrays the cottage as a character, a living being that rejoices when its humans return: “All year, the cottage waited for summer to return,/ and with it, the little girl.” Courtney-Tickle paints the brown-skinned child swimming, fishing, and dreaming on a bedroom window seat next to a large round window: “You are my favorite place,” she tells it. Her family, mixed-race and, eventually, multigenerational, is a loving presence, sitting around a kitchen table stacked with pancakes and surveying the ocean in rocking chairs. One year, though, they don’t return. Readers may worry as trees and weeds grow tall through an unexplained absence, but all is ultimately well: “Gravel crunched under feet/ and the little cottage cried, ‘At last!’ ” Retro spreads by Courtney-Tickle (The Perfectly Perfect Wish) portray the small blue house with a stumpy chimney and a porthole window; the cottage’s personification adds a touch of magic to this ode to a beloved refuge. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Stephanie Fretwell-Hill, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Arabella Stein, the Bright Agency. (May) [/em]