cover image Whose Footprints Are These?

Whose Footprints Are These?

Gerda Muller. Floris, $17.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-78250-810-6

A mix of on-the-go footprints tell a quietly adventuresome story across a captivating winter landscape. Carefully communicated in gouache, colored pencil, and graphite, the wordless tale starts on the book’s title page, with an image of a black-haired figure snuggled beneath a small bed’s duvet. Turn the page and the figure is gone, leaving only prints, first of bare feet and then of sock-like shapes that venture through cozy but otherwise unpopulated domestic spaces, and then out into the snow, leaving the reader to rely on visual cues to provide the narrative, Family Circus–style. The snow-cloaked ground makes an ideal canvas for myriad markings as shoe and paw tracks traverse the wide expanse, crossing a stream, circling a pine, and heading back home, where a final scene shows a light-skinned child peeking from behind a boat-like fort. Endpapers sketch the child and dog at play, but Muller’s conceit ably succeeds without figures or words, lending an air of mystery to a season-specific outing. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)