cover image You and Me

You and Me

Stella Blackstone. Barefoot Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-84148-263-7

Manna (Someone I Like) makes the most of Blackstone's (Bear in a Square; Bear About Town) deceptively simple text in a playful exploration of opposites. He creates a stage of sorts, for a boy and girl who perform each couplet. For ""I'm a circle,/ You're a square,"" the left-hand page features a girl in a red dress striking a ""ta-da"" pose, encircled by a ring of blue on a yellow background; Manna then frames her in a border of geometric shapes cast in an array of colors. Meanwhile, on the right-hand page, the boy looks over at her, a red square behind him, with a similar border of geometric shapes. For ""I'm a valley/ You're a hill,"" the girl, lying in the lower left-hand corner of her framed vignette, looks across the gutter at the boy perched on a hilltop that rivals those pictured in Saint-Exup ry's The Little Prince. A few of the antonyms in the narrative are a stretch (tiger/bear and tree/flower), but Manna's delicate, penumbral watercolors retain a timeless, fairytale quality, depicting enchanted forests populated by castles and towers; the scenery underscores the feeling of the boy and girl playing various parts in their own imaginative play. The audience will appreciate Manna's theatrical approach to wordplay. Ages 2-6. (Aug.)