cover image Nancy Knows

Nancy Knows

Cybèle Young. Tundra, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-77049-482-4

Despite the conventional wisdom about elephants’ memories, “Nancy knows she’s forgotten something. Something important...” Her efforts to summon that information from the depths of her brain fill the pages that follow, while providing a canvas for some truly exceptional paper sculptures from Young (A Few Bites). On blank white pages, Young roughly outlines Nancy in graphite; within Nancy’s body are dozens of tiny, intricate sculptures that represent the objects, places, smells, sounds, and emotions filling her thoughts. Sometimes the objects are thematically linked (a miniature bicycle, unicycle, grocery cart, and wheelbarrow appear as Nancy remembers “Things with wheels”); sometimes they’re “a jumbled-up mess.” In one scene, Nancy’s body stretches across a spread, echoing the arc of a life as Nancy “remembers things from long ago. Or two days before tomorrow.” Inside Nancy’s body, tiny replicas of children’s toys and a bassinet give way to a hockey net, basketball hoop, and fishing rod. It’s just enough of a dilemma to hang a story on, but it’s the how-did-she-do-that nature of Young’s paper constructions that will have readers returning to these pages again and again. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)