cover image Clover


Nadine Robert, trans. from the French by Nick Frost and Catherine Ostiguy, illus. by Qin Leng. Milky Way, $19.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-990252-14-3

Harvest mushrooms, pick blueberries, or hunt for mussels in the river? Clover, a pink-skinned child in overalls and a gnome-like cap, can’t decide which group of siblings to follow. “You’ll be fine either way,” another child says. “Just listen to your inner voice.” Ink and watercolor spreads by Leng (A Day for Sandcastles) imagine the idyllic farm where Clover lives with nearly as many goats as identically clad siblings. Clover chooses the stream for its frogs’ “joyous singing,” then discovers that Peony the goat has followed. Tuning into their inner voice while heading deeper into the wood, Clover works slowly and thoughtfully through a series of dilemmas (“I should find my way back to the river.../ ...but I can’t leave Peony alone”), the halting path through the trees mirroring an interior journey. Leng conveys the forest’s majesty, and the centering landscape it provides, by contrasting its great river and trees with Clover’s tiny form. Robert (On the Other Side of the Forest) captures Clover’s indecision and appeals to the forest’s natural presences (“Gentle Stream, I need your help”), using each event to illuminate moments of deliberation in which direction and self-assurance flower. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)