This Story Is for You

illus. by Greg Pizzoli. 48p. Disney. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484750308.
PreS-Gr 2—Two young children, a white boy and a girl of color, describe the qualities that make each of them unique and the friendship that binds them. Pizzoli's cartoon illustrations, created with pencil and Photoshop, initially place the children on a colorful stage. Suddenly, the girl follows the fluorescent stars appearing on stage and travels "a long, long way" where, even amid the new people and animals she encounters, she retains her own uniqueness. She sends a message in a bottle across the water to the boy, and he sails away in his newly constructed boat to look for her. Joyfully reunited, they sail through a spray of fluorescent stars back to the stage. The illustrations are lovely and move from the stage scenes to spreads depicting the children's fantastical journeys. Alert readers will notice that some scenes and props the children create appear in their travels, while the color of the glowing stars is echoed in the moon, plant outlines, and even in some text. There is humor, too, via the dog that interacts with the kids both on stage, or in outline on yellow ground on a facing page, and in the title of the book the boy reads. The text, while often suitably childlike, sometimes veers toward more adult language as in "if I found you…I would…hold you, and smell you."
VERDICT This additional purchase for group sharing may spark discussions about friendship and acceptance, but while the text comes satisfyingly full circle, it is sometimes jarring.

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