cover image Maybe


Kobi Yamada, illus. by Gabriella Barouch. Compendium, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-946-87375-0

An extraordinarily self-possessed child and a tiny pink pig wander through a surreal but benevolent landscape while a narrator contemplates the nature of potential. Debuting illustrator Barouch outfits the child in a cap made of leaves with a beaklike bill, lending a mythic mood to the journey. “You are the only you there ever has been or ever will be,” intones Yamada (What Do You Do with an Idea?), who details possibilities for the child’s future (“Maybe you will invent something”). Climbing a stairway inside a book, the child discovers a dark space where there’s an enormous polar bear and several species trapped within bird cages and glass domes. “Maybe you are here to help in ways that only you can?” the narrator asks as the child liberates the creatures. The scene abruptly shifts; the child muses, then stitches together a pair of leafy wings that enable the pig to fly. “One thing is for sure, you are here,” the narrator concludes. “And because you are here... anything is possible.” With its inscrutable protagonist and ruminating narrator, both of whom serve to keep readers at a distance, this is one odd entry in the inspirational genre. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)