There Must Be More Than That!

Chronicle. Oct. 2020. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781452183220.
K-Gr 2–A young girl is thoughtfully looking through a window on a rainy day, contemplating that grown-ups are sometimes mistaken, especially if they tell you that a sunny day awaits. Then, her brother arrives, predicting that the future is doomed, and providing vivid examples of alien invasions, plagues, and wars. The girl, and the narrative, arrives at the conclusion that there are surprises, choices, and different alternatives because “there are lots of possible futures.” Yoshitake offers a way for readers to consider the future, unknowable, with better alternatives. In a small size font, the one-to-five lines of text accompanies the characters in this book as the expressive illustrations depict the plot and the mood of the characters. Subtle clues—the grandmother’s bed, the homogenous look of the characters, with pale skin and dark hair, a terrible scene of a destroyed city and people with gas masks, a couple of clothing accessories on the cover—seem to set this in Japan, but the story has a compelling universality. The illustrations are mostly colored contour drawings that are barely supported by a background, yet they work well with the overall artistic setting of this book. In addition, the use of subtractive colors and tertiary colors are harmoniously placed over winter white pages providing a unique design. This picture book stresses a positive mindset as one answer to times of uncertainty that may be stressing young children.
VERDICT Relevant, charming, this flips the mindset of a limiting binary choice and renders the multitudes of possibility in a very accessible, childlike way.–

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