cover image The Boy Who Loved Maps

The Boy Who Loved Maps

Kari Allen, illus. by G. Brian Karas. Random House/Schwartz, $17.99 (44p) ISBN 978-1-984852-30-4

In Allen’s picture book debut, a studious boy who loves maps works in a charming tree-house studio, drawing “cities with their grid-like lines and countries with their squiggly borders.” Soon, a girl appears with a request for a personalized map of “the perfect place,” describing a location that’s “toes-in-the-sand, wrapped-up-in-a-towel warm.” When his drawings and knowledge of the globe don’t align with her variable vision (“It’s a place where I can zip like a dragonfly”), she leads him through their neighborhood, showing him its familiar features through new eyes. Working in warm, loose gouache and pencil in muted greens and earth tones, Karas (A Hat for Mrs. Goldman) plots their journey, following the path of the duo, who read as white, from library to bakery to playground to home, as the boy sees how the girl’s words describe the world he already knows, and make it new. A notable feature of this telling is the way authority shifts from the boy—whose rational take makes the girl’s expanding requests seem capricious—to the girl, who shows the boy another way to look at the world. Back matter defines maps and suggests activities. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Erzsi Deak. Hen&Ink Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Book Group. (July)