A parental meditation on time’s elusive nature.
Like the TIMES newspaper truck drifting through early-morning streets at the beginning, Jacoby’s narrative is more often allusive than direct. “You can almost touch it,” she writes. “Some people pay a lot of attention to it. / Some don’t.” Small figures—notably three, two adults and one child—occupy a set of impressionistic urban and country scenes that begin with breakfast and a rush to catch a train, then move on to an idyllic visit with grandparents. Observations of time’s passage, which can be slow or “quick as a heartbeat skip hello,” parallel images in the pictures that play subtly on the theme, such as a toy train to contrast with the full-size one, or one parent and the mini-me child in identical poses. Following sequential views of a trip to the beach to make an elaborate sand castle and then watch it wash away (“Where does it go?”), a campfire singalong in piney woods, and a goodbye clinch, a night train back to the shimmering city leads to a cozy bedtime. What’s the upshot? “We’ve only got what we’ve got,” and the best we can do with that is to “love the time I have with you.” The couple and their child are pale-skinned (one child and a parent sporting identical mops of frizzy, brown hair, and the other parent with long, black hair), but they travel amid an amusingly lively crowd that is diverse in both race and age.
Big questions, simply put and answered, perhaps, as well as they can be. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)