The lyrics of the classic Beatles song accompany an illustrated story in Cole’s (Spot & Dot, 2019) latest creation.
Two children sit near the front of their school bus, on opposite sides of the aisle, looking wistfully out their respective windows, while the crowd of kids in the back of the bus chat and laugh together. As the children exit the school bus, the two hang back from the crowd. At lunch, they notice each other; at recess, the blond, white child plays a guitar while the puffy-haired, darker-hued child watches, smiling. By the next spread, they are singing together in a bedroom and have developed a warm friendship. But soon, the blond child must move away, and each is alone again. They manage their loneliness with letters and phone calls, and, finally, they prepare for what becomes a spectacular visit. Most of the world is drawn in black and white, with touches of color to highlight the main characters and their connection; blue skies dominate the final spreads. Cole’s detailed style effectively creates a busy world in which individuals seek the comfort of friendship. The lyrics only loosely connect to the pictures, and parts of the text may seem obscure to children unfamiliar with the song. Adult readers will likely be happy to share the classic with children, though, and the visual story is strong enough to carry at least a full reading.
The authors’ names will sell it, but it’s the pictures that sing. (Picture book. 4-8)