cover image Small-Girl Toni and the Quest for Gold

Small-Girl Toni and the Quest for Gold

Giselle Anatol, illus. by Raissa Figueroa. Viking, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-40486-7

A child seeks to change the world in this allusive picture book loosely based on the art and life of Toni Morrison (1931–2019). Though townspeople frequently scoff at her “outlandish stories” and big dreams, Small-Girl Toni believes that her tales can make a difference: “Grown-ups say that stories can’t save jobs... but if my stories have gotten me sent to the principal’s office, and to bed without supper, maybe they can lead me to a whole heap of treasure.” As Small-Girl Toni leads her siblings in search of gold, Anatol, making her picture book debut, incorporates components of Morrison’s works. The children’s journey yields little in the way of the aimed-for treasure, but their arrival home reveals “the warmth of true wealth” and offers a new lens on the gold they gathered along the way. If references to Morrison’s oeuvre feel aimed at adult audiences rather than young readers, digitally rendered, watercolor-textured art from Figueroa (You Will Do Great Things) marries cool and copper tones, revealing moments of gold throughout this picture book about where treasure lies. A biographical note and references to Toni Morrison’s works concludes. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Alexandra Levick, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Natascha Morris, Tobias Literary. (Dec.)