A young boy tasked with mailing a letter has a big adventure on his way to the mailbox in this German import.
Liu (My Museum, 2017) returns with another colorful, nearly wordless picture book about Max, a baseball-cap–clad boy with an infectious smile, perpetually open arms, and a keen eye for detail. On this early fall day, he’s off to mail a letter “all by himself” in a city lovingly depicted in full-bleed paintings composed with thick, textured brush strokes and abstracted, simplified shapes. He walks past the laundromat, pausing to watch colorful blobs swirl in the machines, then stops at a crosswalk with a group of pedestrians of diverse ages and skin tones. Almost everyone is looking at their devices, but Max and the woman next to him both gaze down at a small puddle and, with an unexpected perspective shift, readers turn the page to see their two smiling faces reflected in the puddle, which now occupies the entire spread and seems to contain a whole city in itself. The book continues to follow this formula: Pages depicting Max walking past generic city sights (an art museum, a garbage truck, a crowded intersection) are interspersed with perspective shifts that position readers either next to him or directly interacting with him as he moves observantly through the city. Charming details abound, from a subplot involving a lost dog to the white endpapers covered in blue crayonlike scribbles that seem to map Max’s rambling path. Max and his mother share the same ruddy complexions.
Liu transforms a mundane walk to the mailbox into an exceptionally delightful visual treat. (Picture book. 3-8)