Short, epistolary advice from a loving parent or caregiver.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal was no stranger to odes to families (That’s Me Loving You, 2016, and I Wish You More, 2015). This picture book is a collaboration with her daughter—a series of tiny reminders to a growing girl. Blurring the line between a familiar letter salutation and an endearing term of love, each piece begins with “Dear Girl.” Some are silly: “Dear Girl, / … // Sometimes you’ll need a tissue. / Sometimes you’ll need a bucket.” In illustration, a distraught gal cries overflowing tears. Some are clichéd: “Dear Girl, Coloring OUTSIDE the lines is cool too.” (“OUTSIDE” sprawls across the spread in giant block capitals; each letter is colored in, crayon marks exceeding every boundary.) Some are contemplative: “Dear Girl, Write down your thoughts once in a while, even if it is just to enjoy the way your pen feels against the paper.” Combined, they all have Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s (apparently genetically shared) knack for touching a wisp of wonder. Hatam’s round-faced, white protagonist has ink-dotted eyes and moves through the myriad scenarios, hugging and befriending a few darker-skinned pals along the way. The pages may be tinged with sadness now that Amy Krouse Rosenthal has passed, but the message of tender protection is strong and clear.
Singularly addressed to “Girl,” but an open-arms reminder to all children. (Picture book. 4-8)