Somewhere by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Armando Mariño. Candlewick, 2022. 9781536207354
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Format: Hardcover picture book
What did you like about the book? A little girl and her father make their way to a park, where the girl has plans for a big adventure. She waves goodbye after announcing that she has to go. Her imagination takes over and she envisions herself shrinking in relation to the tropical plants, discovering treasures (a shiny peso, a big green leaf, beautiful feathers). Finally, she finds a place so beautiful, she knows she has to share it with Daddy. For a minute, she’s unsure; can she find her way back? Following her footsteps on the muddy path, she vaults back into his waiting arms, eager to share her finds and go on to yet another place they’ve never been before.
This is a lovely, colorful celebration of imagination, nature, and the security of attachment. The unnamed narrator wears a bright yellow dress with a backwards blue baseball cap squashing down her crazy curly hair while Dad is lanky and casual, with matching black hair, dark brown skin, and a black goatee. The vivid watercolor paintings stretch right to the edge, while the text appears on the opposite page, in a tropically-hued frame. Children may need to read the book a second time to catch that the impressive wilderness is actually a city park inside old Havana, which the pair reach via streets lined with vintage cars and gorgeous, colorful Cuban Baroque houses.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? Libraries looking for stories that represent diverse families. This celebration of love, nature, and imagination will appeal to many readers. It could also be a useful and updated mentor text for children in grades 1-3 woking on Lucy Caulkins “small moments” assignments. A great read aloud for Father’s Day!
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: March 19, 2022