A grandmother holds a baby’s hand and wonders, “What will these hands make?” Myriad possibilities follow.
What if those little hands made “a fiddle to play quick / a stack of wood for the night / a play to cheer / a lantern to guide the way back home?” Or how about “a bridge to cross a river / a boat to sail the sea / a house for swallows / a home for families?” These projects appear embedded within luxuriantly detailed scenes, made with McClure’s own steady hand and an X-Acto knife. Capitalized headers boldly ask “WILL THESE HANDS MAKE,” with possibilities unfurling in lyrical, lucid verse beneath. Awe-inspiring double-page spreads show a busy town from multiple, miraculous perspectives. Putty-colored paper serves as a soothing, neutral background for McClure’s inky-black illustrations, and it also allows all people to share the same skin tone. Selective pops of color (icy blue, buttercream yellow, brick red, cotton white) highlight fabric, flowers, cake, a mast. The matte pigments glow on the taupe paper, emphasizing just how good, hands-on work provides bright spots in communities. McClure encourages readers to trace their hands on two vacant ovals on the final pages, and it seems she’s asking also for a promise to do something with their own hands in the future. A conversational author’s note describes how she cuts paper to make artwork.
Extraordinary artwork inspires young people to use their hearts and hands. (Picture book. 4-10)