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Monday, May 8, 2017

Walk with Me, written by Jairo Buitrago and illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. Translated by Elisa Amado. Groundwood Books, 2017. $18.95 ages 5 and up

"Let's go as fast as we can,
then wait for me.

Let's go together into
the neighborhood,

and to the store that
won't give us credit

Eat with us "

As the two - child and lion - take a walk home together, we learn much about the child's family, and the urban landscape that is her home. The child's invitation, by offering a bright yellow flower, provides her with company on a long walk that often makes her sleepy. The lion helps to make the time more quickly. A stop allows the child to pick up a baby sibling from day care. They are off to her neighborhood and to the store that is unwilling to give the family credit for their needed groceries. As she prepares the meal and waits for her mother's return, the lion is invited to stay. Once Mama arrives, the lion is left to its own devices and the family makes the most of what they have.

Again, this is a perfect book to share first without any illustrations to let children imagine what is happening. It is not until they have a chance to see the brilliant and detailed illustrations that they really begin to know the environment that surrounds this joyful child as she navigates the end of each of her days. The city is smog-filled, dull, busy, and a trifle dangerous. The neighborhood is warmer, although more rundown, and their house has what is needed. The reactions to the lion are great fun, and the final image gives pause to think a little longer.

Emotionally memorable, and full of compassion, please take the time to focus on the details, consider the circumstances and wonder at the talented artists who bring this story so beautifully to life.

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