In a warm, brown background is a girl whose Auntie calls her Cartwheel. Then the war comes. Now she is alone in a gray, frightening city. The words pepper her like a cold waterfall and she is alone. At home she can wrap herself in a blanket of the words and sounds she knows, but not outside. Then she meets another girl. At first tentative and uncertain, Cartwheel slowly accepts the girl's persistent friendship and begins to create a new blanket of words.
The illustrations are lovely, showing Cartwheel's original home, dress, and familiar blanket of words in glowing orange with the new land in cold grays, blues and greens. Gradually, as Cartwheel adds to her words, the colors come together until the last spread shows a blue and green landscape glowing with touches of vibrant orange.
For children who have never known the experience of being in a strange country where they don't speak the language, this is a lovely and gentle way to explain the feelings and emotions one might go through. For those who are experiencing this, this title will validate their feelings and show them hope of adding to, not replacing, their blanket of words and experiences.
Verdict: A lovely addition to any picture book collection. Highly recommended.
ISBN: 9780544432284; Published 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Borrowed from another library in my consortium