A lonely young girl makes a wish that eventually comes true in both magical and pragmatic ways.
Rose is a shaggy-haired, scratchily drawn preschool-sized white girl whose family has recently moved. Alone in her room she makes a wish, “but the wish thing did not come.” The facing page, however, shows an indeterminate furry creature with long ears and a sizable schnoz setting out in a rolling box. Rose’s family’s efforts to help her feel at home appear mostly in vignettes. Occasional double-page spreads track the progress of the cardboard box as it zooms over snowy mountains and sails through stormy seas. The two paths finally cross, and Rose takes her first, tentative steps toward settling in. Magerl’s succinct (and occasionally cryptic) text complements her pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations. Together, words and pictures effectively evoke Rose’s lonely state and her family’s befuddlement and caring. The artwork, while decidedly original, brings to mind Ed Koren’s cartoons, with a touch of Edward Gorey’s charming grotesquerie. Odd animals and oddly lifelike dolls and stuffed toys add to the offbeat atmosphere.
This quirky, sidelong look at a common childhood experience will be just the thing for readers and listeners who enjoy a touch of whimsy and mystery (and who won’t mind not finding out what the wish thing actually is—or exactly what happens next). (Picture book. 3-6)