Compendium. Feb. 2021. 48p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781970147285.
K-Gr 3–A genderless narrator learns to trust the process enough to fail in this newest inspirational picture book from the author of What Do You Do with an Idea?. A sculptor works on grand pieces in a studio setting filled with towering, beautiful works as a child looks on in wonder. This child wishes to do the same but is afraid to take the chance, knowing they might fail. The sculptor provides words of encouragement in the form of gentle platitudes, i.e., “The only way to get where you want to go is take a step in that direction.” As the child’s self-doubt and frustration mount, the sculptor offers more advice and insight into the artistic process and showing off his own garden of failed work. While the words of the sculptor are familiar truths, it is the gorgeous pencil and watercolor illustrations that make the story a wonder to behold. The sculptor’s animal statues benignly watch over almost every scene, as do a growing number of cats, including one that stands out for being orange in a sea of mostly black and white, heavily shaded imagery. The skin colors and ethnicity of both child and sculptor, in the play of gray and shadowed tones, could be almost anything.
VERDICT Educators seeking an inspiring read-aloud are sure to warm to this book, which already feels like a classic, with its message of being brave enough to try.

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