A Girl Named October

Ripple Grove. Apr. 2019. 36p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780999024959.
Gr 1-3–In her flowered dress and pigtails, young October appears to be gazing at nothing. When the narrator sees October, she asks her what she is doing. October answers in an abstract manner and then asks the narrator an equally abstract question. For instance, when the narrator sees October painting, she asks why. October answers, “So I can have longer arms. Do you know how far you can reach?” Feeling particularly weary on a windy day, the older girl encounters October again. The child smiles for her when she is too weary to do so for herself. The narrator finally understands that October embodies a way of being that evokes peace and joy. Illustrated as a lanky girl with bright purple hair, the narrator is of indeterminate age. Each scene occurs in a city or park brought to life with acrylic, oil, pencil, and digitally finished. A sense of movement is constant on each page through flowing objects, like leaves, birds, and so forth. This flow, coupled with the creative use of perspective and color, lends each illustration a vibrancy that will draw readers in. The lovely color palette of blue-grays, yellows, and purples evokes a feeling of melancholy. The concept of empathy may not easily translate from the pages of this book to the minds of young readers. However, October does convey a sense of connectivity and mindfulness that could lead to further discussion.
VERDICT A thoughtful and appealing book for one-on-one sharing.

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