Nancy Ann's Blog

Publishers Weekly review of Passing By

Posted on: January 26, 2010

— Publishers Weekly, 1/25/2010

Picture Books

Passing By
Yona Tepper, trans. by Deborah Guthman, illus. by Gil-Ly Alon Curiel. EDC/Kane Miller, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-935279-36-5

Tepper’s account of a preschooler’s day reflects the watching and waiting that can make up much of the daily life of a small child. Yael waits on her second-story balcony looking at the street below: “Who’s going for a walk? Who’s far away? Who’s coming closer?” Curiel’s cheerful spreads have clear black outlines filled in with soft, creamy shades of sand, pale blue, and yellow. Yael finds answers for some of the things she wonders about (generally whatever is responsible for a certain noise, be it a dog, cat, or car) but other questions are more open-ended. “It’s a man, riding his bike. He has a basket and a fishing pole, and he’s wearing boots. Where is he going? What will he do?” The answer isn’t spelled out, and the man rides away. Store signs are in Hebrew, but the objects in Yael’s world will be recognizable to young readers. Just when nothing is happening at all—“There’s no car. There’s no little dog. There’s no bird”—Daddy comes home. A very gentle outing for smallest children. Ages 2–5. (Mar.)

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