cover image How To

How To

Julie Morstad. Simply Read (Ingram, dist.), $16.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-897476-57-4

Morstad (When I Was Small) continues her celebration of childhood innocence, painting children whose dreamy but often somber expressions give them a particularly doll-like quality. Fragmentary captions (“How to go fast”; “How to feel the breeze”) are matched with pictures that show children providing examples, crossing the page on scooters and stilts or zooming downhill on a bicycle. The best moments occur when the captions are interpreted in distinctively childlike ways: “How to make a sandwich” is a pileup of children and sofa cushions. “How to make new friends” shows a boy drawing a group of shock-headed stick figures in chalk on the blacktop. And “How to wash your socks” accompanies children dancing in a puddle in their stocking feet. The design and typography are straight out of the ’60s, and the children’s classic clothing and timeless circumstances—no cars, no cell phones, no schools, no parents—will draw nostalgic adults as well as children. Intentionally or not, it’s a reminder of an era when children were permitted time just to stand and stare. Ages 4–8. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (May)