Much Too Busy

Interlink. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781623717223.
PreS-Gr 1–There are picture books that exist simply to entertain children, and there are those that exist to melt the hearts of adults reading them. Much Too Busy does both beautifully. Immediately, it thrusts readers into a bright, expressive world full of tall buildings and bustling streets that seem crafted from translucent tissue paper cut-outs in jewel tones. Any kid would go gaga over the quirky bystanders and their wacky background shenanigans. It’s made better when the deliciously grumpy protagonist Pigeon shows up, who is so busy he gets lost. Enter Mouse, in a bucolic landscape dripping with details in each leaf and tree. Here’s where Mouse’s homespun wisdom teaches Pigeon (and adults reading the book) how to slow down and enjoy the view. Countryside illustrations become a treasure trove for imagination—what does that tree, that clump of flowers, that cloud look like? Eventually, our feathered friend with the furrowed brow relaxes into the beauty all around. Bouncy lettering and brisk text keep this moving along without getting didactic.
VERDICT This is a charming read for preschooler story hours, for classroom lessons on mindfulness, for encouraging almost anyone to revel in natural curiosity; an incessant push of toward an agenda isn’t actually always important in the long run.

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