My Family Four Floors Up

In Caroline Stutson's lighthearted urban story, a father and daughter spend the day together, eating breakfast, visiting the park and finally snuggling down to sleep. Cheerful verses capture the rhythms of a young child's routine: "Hello,/ morning,/ yellow sun,/ yummy/ breakfast./ Day's begun." A small brown pooch accompanies the two on their outing, leaving a green-eyed cat to watch them from the fourth-floor apartment window: "Hello,/ sidewalk,/ many feet!/ Goodbye,/ black cat,/ city street."

Celia Krampien (Here to There and Me to You, written by Cheryl Keely; Shadow Warrior, written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi) uses a child's-eye perspective in many of her boldly colored pictures. The dad serves his daughter breakfast, but the reader sees only his outstretched arm, a bit of plaid shirt and jeans, and sock feet. The city street is full of legs, legs and more legs, along with wheelchair riders and hands in various shades of peach and brown gripping grocery bags, books and phones. The park is a peaceful green place, with ducklings "wobbling by" and swings for "swinging/ way up/ high!" Even when ominous clouds start rolling in and rain falls, it's all part of the fun of the day.

Stutson, who passed away in 2015, wrote many picture books, including Blue Corn Soup, Pirate Pup and Cowpokes. My Family Four Floors Up is a celebration of everyday wonders that expresses some of the same bright, simple joy found in Margaret Wise Brown's iconic Goodnight Moon. This posthumously published picture book will surely become a read-aloud favorite for city dwellers and country kids alike. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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