cover image Where Do We Go When We Disappear?

Where Do We Go When We Disappear?

Isabel Minhós Martins, illus. by Madalena Matoso. Tate (Abrams, dist.), $14.95 (44p) ISBN 978-1-84976-160-4

Martins and Matoso return to the existential subject matter of their 2011 collaboration, When I Was Born; while the title might suggest an exploration of death, it investigates a much broader range of disappearances. “Most of the time we don’t go very far,” Martins says in answer to the title’s question. “We are just around the corner. Lying hidden, with our eyes wide open, waiting to be found” (a pink girl with rosy cheeks smiles, tucked under some abstract furniture). She also explains that it isn’t just people that can vanish: there’s the mystery of absent socks, the evaporation of puddles, and the return of the sun. “We say without thinking, ‘Oh look, the sun is rising.’ But to the sun it’s us that disappears and then rises again,” Martins writes after explaining that the “sun doesn’t go anywhere.” Throughout, Matoso offers blocky, vividly colored images of landscapes, rainy streets, and dot-eyed people that play off the lighthearted aspects of Martins’s writing. Rather than answer children’s questions, it’s a book that challenges them to think about their world in different, unexpected ways. Ages 4–7. (Aug.)