- ISBN-13: 9780763668082
- ISBN-10: 0763668087
- Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
- Publish Date: August 2016
- Page Count: 144
- Reading Level: Ages 5-8
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-23
- Reviewer: Staff
In Cecil’s (Evermore Dragon) town of Bloomville, people flock to vaudeville shows, apartment buildings have stoops, and the neighborhood butcher sports a handlebar moustache. Set over four acts, the story—which could either be considered a very long picture book or a large-format chapter book—follows the lives of three city inhabitants. There’s Lucy, a small stray dog who romps through Bloomville, always on the lookout for food: “She takes a big sniff. These are questionable scraps. Very questionable. She eats them anyway.” Sam, a grocery clerk, is a gifted juggler with stage fright. Eleanor, Sam’s daughter, slips Lucy tidbits when she can. Cozy, repeated sequences, like Lucy’s daily morning dash through the city, “Past Bertolt’s Butcher Shop.... Past the diner with the questionable scraps,” counterbalance the story’s mysteries: How did Lucy lose the luxurious home she often remembers? Why is Sam so terrified? Cecil’s stylized black-and-white oil paintings are framed in circles, focusing each scene as if through a lens. The conclusion unfolds naturally, while Cecil’s understated writing and careful pacing contribute substantially to this sweetly satisfying story. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)
Chasing dreams, day by day
BookPage Top Pick in Children's, August 2016
Parents of children in the early elementary grades often feel pressure to “graduate” their kids to chapter books as soon as they begin learning to read. Randy Cecil’s Lucy offers a heartfelt reminder that the picture book form can remain relevant and even necessary long after the preschool years.
At the beginning of the book, we meet solitary Eleanor Wische and her father, Sam, an aspiring juggler, as well as a nameless stray dog whom Eleanor feeds breakfast scraps. The three are united in their loneliness and in their desire to find a way to belong. Over the course of several seemingly ordinary days, the three of them pursue extraordinary dreams—and discover their need for one another.
Lucy is long for a picture book, more than 100 pages divided into four “Acts” (perhaps to appease the chapter book crowd). Each Act opens with an old-fashioned city streetscape, and then each following page includes a bit of text—from a paragraph to just a line or two—accompanied by a sepia-toned illustration, a small vignette whose subtleties will reward careful observers.
The story, too, is full of charming details for careful readers and listeners. Cecil uses repetition to tell his story, but the repetitions are full of tiny tweaks and twists that keep readers guessing (and sometimes giggling) and propel the story to its cozy, satisfying end.
Illustration copyright (c) 2016 by Randy Cecil. Reproduced with permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.