Places to Be, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Renata Liwska reminds me of the meditatively lovely trio of books written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Liwska, The Quiet Book & The Loud Book and The Christmas Book. Barnett and Liwska, along with two foxes, take readers to literal and abstract places, urging readers on with a, "Hurry up! We have places to be."
There are places to be happy and, "blue and purple." Barnett's words are poetic and simple, giving Liwska space to tell a story with her illustrations that goes beyond the text. Two foxes, one big and one little, maybe siblings, maybe friends, start the story at a playground on a bike and a skateboard. Until the big fox ends up in a blue and purple place after his skateboard breaks.
The two carry on with their days of play and adventure, stopping at many places, experiencing more ups and downs. The pair comfort, entertain and encourage each other through thunderstorms, diving boards and the dangers of open manholes while walking and texting, or maybe catching Pokémon? As always, Liwska's illustrations are filled with details and wonderfully expressive characters, all presented in a cool, spring palette with occasional bursts of bold colors. Bringing the story full circle in the penultimate page spread, Liwska shows the pair of foxes planning to have a new skateboard made.
Source: Review Copy