BEFORE I LEAVE by Jessixa Bagley

BEFORE I LEAVE

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Before her family moves, Zelda cherishes time with her best friend, Aaron.

Zelda, an anthropomorphic hedgehog, must say goodbye to both the home she knows and Aaron, her inseparable anteater pal. Boxes and beloved paraphernalia litter rooms, as Zelda comes to terms with the move—first trying (unsuccessfully) to pack Aaron, then defiantly stating she’s not going. But as Zelda realizes the move is inevitable, the friends decide: “...let’s play! / One last time, / like nothing is changing.” Ink-and-watercolor illustrations done in an earthy palette create a warm and gentle world for the two besties to relive their happiest times chasing, swinging, canoeing, and tin-can–phoning each other (Zelda in their treehouse, Aaron in their fort) in a bittersweet montage of perfect moments. These memories, along with letters from Aaron, help Zelda adjust to her new home as she realizes, even miles apart, the two still have each other. As in Boats for Papa (2015), Bagley is able to condense a heartfelt (or heart-wrenching) moment into a few spare words while portraying it with an earnestness that respects both characters and readers.

A reassuring and needed addition to the bookshelf on moving. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-62672-040-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2015




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