cover image Dear Wild Child: You Carry Your Home Inside You

Dear Wild Child: You Carry Your Home Inside You

Wallace J. Nichols and Wallace Grayce Nichols, illus. by Drew Beckmeyer. Cameron Kids, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-951836-46-7

Loosely composed as an address from Wallace J. Nichols to daughter Wallace Grayce Nichols, this nostalgic picture book memorializes the family’s idyllic house among the redwoods, lost in a wildfire. Vividly depicted in Beckmeyer’s textured scenes of an unbounded childhood, recollections evoke a rustic, “hardwood and stone” abode, filled with “books, guitars, a piano, seashells, feathers, and animals./ And memories.” In one emblematic scene, a pale-skinned, blond-haired child appears multiple times: exploring among multicolored flora, jumping into a swimming hole, and carrying a bucket of plums. When “the wildest, most beautiful lightning storm” arrives, igniting a fire, the art echoes the text’s emphasis on beauty rather than loss, with a spread of an inky sky lit up with craggy lines. In the event’s aftermath, the affecting story’s tone remains openhearted, concluding with sentiments that encourage resilience and reflect on the nature of home. An author’s note discusses climate change. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)