With bad news in the air, Mom is glued to the television, and Dad is constantly checking his phone; it is up to the children to remind them they are still there.
As the book starts, a family of four—mother, father, and two children—is engaged with planting seeds at the kitchen table. They are all depicted with brown skin and enormous, outsized eyes. When bad news breaks on the TV, everyone’s life is turned upside down. The grown-ups all around are clearly overwhelmed, and all the children in school reflect this in their sad and scared faces. In this unsettling atmosphere the tables are turned, and it is up to the young protagonist to help the grown-ups. After some clowning around, a promise of a force field to protect them, and doing the dishes fail to bring the desired effect, a series of smaller good deeds does the trick. What stands out in the mixed-media illustrations are the enormous eyes, which at times give the characters an outright scary look. It is hard to decide whether this story is intended for adults, reminding them of their responsibility toward children in times of trouble; or for children, empowering them to take action when the adults in their lives fail them.
This disquieting story may be best used as a discussion starter. (Picture book. 5-8)