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A Book of Joy

From the Growing Hearts series

by Jo Witek ; illustrated by Christine Roussey

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2204-2
Publisher: abramsappleseed

What will a child put in her fine, new, porcelain box? “Things that are beautiful and colorful and bright.”

“Things that bring me joy,” she continues, and then enumerates: jumping in puddles, blowing bubbles with baby sister Lili, the giggles of friends, lazy Sundays with her family, paper boats, and more. Also, peace and quiet: “I float and listen. My breath goes in and out, blowing like the wind.” Between the sparkly star shining through a big, shaped hole in the front cover and the closing sky full of starry fireworks, the creators of Brave as Can Be: A Book of Courage (2015) and other sensitive explorations of feelings offer a catalog of sweet moments and memories suitable for storing up and savoring. The overall design adds a playful element. In each of Roussey’s simply drawn and very softly colored scenes, visual surprises like a glimpse of sun behind a rain cloud or cupcakes beneath a water lily are hidden beneath small die-cut flaps—most of which are themselves of unpredictable shape and hidden by being artfully positioned within lines or patterns. Human figures, plus many of the larger toys and living creatures, are the white of the uncolored backgrounds, with color highlights supplied by freckles or red cheeks. “What about you?” the child asks at last. “What is in your treasure chest?”

A quietly joyful invitation to audiences of any age to stop taking the wonders and pleasures around them for granted.

(Picture book. 5-9)