A quick hello, with news!
This first review of WHERE ARE YOU NOW? In Kirkus is nothing short of a titanic relief. This book is unusual in a few ways (a picture book about death in prose), but I feel like it somehow landed in the right reviewer's hands. How lucky is that?
A study of impermanence and transformation.
Do shooting stars disappear? Or do they transform into something else? In Burke’s opening spread, a figure admires a shooting star that streaks across the blue, purple, and red sunset. As the fleeting light disappears, the words read, “Where are you now, star?” And so the conversation begins. From the vastness of the shooting star in the sky to the tininess of the grains of rocks and sea glass it can transform into, the star becomes part of the Earth. As a hand reaches to catch a snowflake, water’s journey—as fog and mist when it swirls “up to the clouds” and rolls “down to the hills”—is explored. But transformation does not happen only in inanimate objects. It happens in plants, like the seed that grows into a tree, which bears apples, and in humans, when, “dreams intertwined / Slow days, quickly past.” The verses and illustrations are vague enough to allow wide-ranging conversations. Without any specificity in human characters’ identity—only silhouettes are displayed—exchanges about death are prompted as the narrator says, “I see you now, still— / Even though you aren’t here.” With sumptuous illustrations and thought-provoking verses, Burke’s meditation can serve as a quiet bedtime story or a deep conversation starter.
Worthy of contemplation. (Picture book. 4–7)