A delectable, festive celebration of pluralistic community.
Frontmatter illustrations depict a white mother and Asian father with their two biracial children. They are packing up pies to share at a lakeside picnic, which takes place in a setting that seems based on Lake Champlain in northern Vermont, where Chin and his family reside (as revealed in the illustrator bio). The possibly autobiographical illustrative elements are nowhere dictated by Ledyard’s spare, poetic text, but they may explain the powerful sense of community and affection that defines each spread as the central family interacts with a multiracial cast of characters with diverse skin tones and hair textures. They share pie, yes, but also a book, a ball, a climbing tree, a jump-rope, and then intangibles such as time, stories, words and music, and so on. The culminating illustration shows the assembled crowd gazing at fireworks, which may make readers recall subtle red-white-and-blue plates and picnic blanket. “And a blanket? A breeze? The sky? These are for sharing. // Just like pie” reads the closing text. This isn’t a flag-waving Fourth of July story, but it can be read as a gentle yet firm call for American readers to reflect on and embrace the ideal of pluralism.
An aspirational vision in which inclusivity is as American as (apple) pie. (Picture book. 3-8)