A mother-daughter road trip with feels aplenty.
A rainstorm imperils Francie and her mother as they drive home in their little red car after visiting Grandma, anticipating the return of Francie’s father who’s been away for work. Race isn’t named in the text, though the two are illustrated as light-skinned black people. Roads are perilous with heavy traffic, and then a big rig careens by, forcing them “up into the picnic area,” where they wait out the storm. Background characters, named and specified in narration, separately endure the rain, while Francie and her mother eat a picnic in the car. Textual references to an unseen “Baby Sister” are clarified when Francie asks, “What will her name be, Mommy?” “Well, she’s not quite with us yet,” Mom responds, and Francie suggests names for her sister, still in utero. It’s not until later at a gas station that Mom is struck with inspiration, though no one milling about in their own specific lives notices—not “Sam Miller feeding his dog fried chicken legs. Nor by Kate Calder losing her Sour Fruity Fizzes from a hole in her pocket.” Mom hugs Francie and tells her the baby’s name will be Grace. It’s a name befitting the quiet solemnity of a story that highlights the everyday wonders of human experience, lovingly depicted in Graham’s characteristically humorous, soft ink-and-watercolor illustrations.
Amazing. (Picture book. 3-8)