Author: Pham, LeUyen
Celebrates the community coming together to face the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/01/20)
School Library Journal (+) (04/01/21)
Booklist (+) (02/01/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2021 *Starred Review* Beginning during the last days of winter in 2020, the text recalls how everything changed. A bustling city neighborhood in one scene is empty of people in the next, after everyone outside goes inside, all around the world. Essential workers are still on the job, as the double-page spreads depicting a hospital make clear, but the book’s focus shifts to what’s happening indoors, where families are together at home: working, baking, worrying, playing games, waiting, and laughing. Wearing masks, people venture outside sometimes but maintain distance from each other with fences, “both real and pretend.” Inside their homes, they wait for a spring when people can be together again. Throughout the book, a friendly black cat can be found sitting, walking, and observing the ever-changing scenes. The main text doesn’t mention the pandemic. Carefully worded and fluid when read aloud, it simply observes the changes that children might have noticed, offering a springboard for conversation if young listeners have questions. The digital illustrations are beautifully composed and emotionally expressive. In the end, a double gatefold opens into a joyous four-page spread featuring a sunlit park where families and friends, unmasked, gather outdoors together. Reflecting shared experiences and hopes, here’s a welcome picture book for our times. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2021 PreS-Gr 2—With sympathy and symmetry, Pham recreates the world pre-pandemic in digital illustrations that have the flow and dynamism of watercolors. She imagines a world where people from all walks of life enjoy being outside engaging in many activities until one day when it all comes to a halt—almost everyone goes inside. So begins this enlightening story of how a deadly pandemic forces everyone indoors. Image after vivid image shows people of many races and ethnicities going about their business and then the abruptly empty streets. Wildlife returns to the suburbs. Through the illustrated portrait-like scenes, people are shown in the hospital, facing job loss, death, upending of routines. Pham underscores the lives of essential workers and their dedication. She also touches on the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020, offering educators or parents a path for frank discussion about racial injustice. This hopeful work encourages readers to consider their own, ongoing paths through the pandemic, without ever denigrating or playing down the seriousness. VERDICT Poetic understatement and somber images capture the new normal in this essential purchase.—Annmarie Braithwaite, New York P.L. - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.