Over the Rooftops, Under the Moon

illus. by Nahid Kazemi. 56p. Enchanted Lion. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781592702626.
Gr 2–5—A long-legged white bird contemplates solitude, belonging, and connectedness in this spare, introspective offering. "You can be far away inside,/and far away outside./With others, but still on your own," the book opens, and the bird is shown leaning against a chimney, soaring over the landscape, and in the middle of—yet disconnected from—a flock. As the bird interacts with various people throughout an unnamed city, the colors and patterns they wear emerge in the bird's feathers until it is mottled and vibrant: "Color arrives, sometimes when you least expect it." As the weather turns wintry, the bird comes to realize it is separated from its flock, which has already migrated south, and in a series of wordless spreads, the bird travels in search of the others, ultimately losing its color. At last, it is reunited with the flock, finding itself at once "alone and together/over the rooftops/and under the moon." Teeming with texture and detail, Kazemi's mixed-media illustrations thoughtfully complement Lawson's lyrical text and invite readers to take their time observing and examining the art.
VERDICT Though unlikely to appeal to a wide audience, this philosophical title lends itself to interpretation and encourages exploration of the self, both as an independent identity and as part of a community.

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