FICTION

All the Animals Where I Live

illus. by Philip C. Stead. 48p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Mar. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781626726567.
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K-Gr 3—Like Stead's Ideas Are All Around, which playfully explores the artist's interior life and creative processes, All the Animals Where I Live takes readers for an extended meander around his physical environs with his dog Wednesday. In recording his observations of the natural world, the once-city-dweller Stead introduces readers not only to an array of country critters, but also to his 90-year-old neighbor who shoos a brown bear way from her kitchen window, and regales readers with fond memories of his Grandma Jane, whom he likens to a hummingbird "flitting and buzzing and always busy." Wednesday, also once a city dog, clearly relishes the freedom of exploring off-leash throughout the seasons, greeting sandhill cranes, toads, coyotes, and dragonflies. Wild turkeys, turtles, chipmunks, deer and a snowy owl are among the seasonal visitors that the artist spies. The lovely mixed-media artwork includes oil ink monoprinting from found objects, and drawing with China marker, bamboo calligraphy brushes, and Sumi ink. The animals take center stage with minimally patterned backgrounds suggesting light-filled open fields and lush forests.
VERDICT While the quiet, and at times nostalgic, tone of the narrative does not suggest broad child appeal, young artists and nature lovers will find much here to admire and any of the artist's many fans would be happy to peruse these pages.

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