Under the Blanket Sky

Doubleday. May 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593645918.
PreS-Gr 3–A young boy is briefly joined by a “strange creature” one summer morning. The creature returns and stays while the sun continues to shine through the days. Together they enjoy the long lazy summer and its myriad activities. When the boy wonders whether “things will always be this way” he begins to learn the importance of enjoying the moment and what it takes to let go of someone he loves. Before returning to school, he reflects on these months where “the sky would stretch out” before them. The unnamed boy and the oversized owl are presented with such detail that the bond between them is at the center of each image. The dreamlike coloring of the scenes, with pastel hues and bright white accents, create sun-filled days with an unhurried pace. Images appear as digitally enhanced softened landscapes with a nostalgic feel. The sharp detail of the owl’s feathers and the boy’s hair draw readers into each scene and into the relationship. The text, especially dialogue, is a true representation of a child’s language and thoughts regarding the abstract idea of letting go.
VERDICT With an owl creature that is unique and oversized pulling onlookers into the tale, this is a strong purchase for collections where animal stories circulate.

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