A traveler finds many Ways to follow and to share before finding one of his own.
Setting out over autumnal fields that give way to urban and even nautical settings, a “really nice kid named Martin” finds one Way after another. He meets a friend who is stuck and in need of a “new Way” and another, who has a “different Way” and invites him along to explore. As he finds more Ways, Martin comes to realize that each is unique, that all are good, that there is no right Way or wrong Way. Ultimately he finds “the Way that was right for him.” Marshall really milks the metaphor, but there’s still a little juice left—particularly in the observation that the “right Way” for some is “no Way.” (In the accompanying picture, which is equally ambiguous, Martin stands on a precipice gazing into the starry cosmos.) Broadly inclusive as Marshall’s philosophy may be, Bukiert gives it a parochial cast by depicting Martin and the people he meets as mostly light of skin and western European in dress and features. Adding visual appeal but not much depth to the central conceit, the illustrations depict the Ways as abstract ribbons that loop through each scene and can be walked on, followed, or picked up and carried along.
Mundane illustrations aside, this extended play on words is likely to spark both discussion and rumination. (Picture book. 10-13)