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On My Walk

by Kari-Lynn Winters; Christina Leist, illus.

A young, curly-haired kid in overalls heads out for a summer walk with his rambunctious dog and pregnant mom. (It’s not enirely clear whether the kid is a boy or a girl, but “boy” seems most likely.) They wander through what appears to be a suburban park, coming across a horse, a frog, a bug, and a fish, buy an ice cream cone, then get rained on and have to hoof it home, seeing everything they’d spotted earlier, but in reverse order.

This picture book collaboration between author and educator Kari-Lynn Winters and Vancouver illustrator Christina Leist (who previously illustrated Vi Hughes’s YA novel The Graveyard Hounds) couldn’t be simpler. Winters’ rhyming text has the kid hearing his world as a series of “-ippity -op” sounds: “I hear a horse, clippity-clop, clippity clop, and a frog, frippity-frop, frippity-frop.” While it doesn’t exactly scream originality, the patient and hypnotic rhythm is exactly the kind of thing that will worm its way into the memories and imaginations of toddlers, who will likely start ippity-oppiting themselves after a single reading. (Though the book could serve as a first reader, kids at the upper end of the suggested age-range may give the whole thing a shruggity-shrug.)

Leist’s layered illustrations work well with Winters’ words, turning path, pond, and beach into a lively riot of green leaves and grass against a background that is various shades of brown, with faint ships, mountains, and a city skyline on the horizon. The transition from sunny day to cloudy one is subtle, but by the time the rain really hits, the book’s pages seem wonderfully stormy and waterlogged.