What to Bring

Owlkids. Mar. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771474900.
PreS-Gr 2–A picture book takes on a subject fraught with emotion: a fire is approaching and the family must evacuate. While the rest of her family frantically packs up a few belongings, Malia is all but paralyzed, and then overwhelmed with what she must take, which includes books, stuffies, blankets, pillows, and more. Her mother very gently reminds her that she can bring only important things, and Malia, with light brown skin and black bobbed hair, looking smaller by the minute, realizes that her backpack is too little for what’s truly a priority. In one of the final spreads, Malia is content to be with her family and two pets (and two stuffies); the rest she’ll carry in her heart. The overlaying of urgency and doom is never too dramatic; the author interlaces the necessity of forward motion with the wish to pause and reflect. The parents in this book act as a steadying force for their daughter as well as readers. The scenes are as straightforward as the work of Gail Gibbons and convey the distant fire in a threatening way, but not impossibly so.
VERDICT With wildfires a fact of life, more children will be facing the question of what to bring. This book has some answers, but more, offers a forum for gentle preparation. A necessary title for young readers.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing