I understood. Really. Who could resist that cover? My review copy of “See You When I See You” by Rose Lagercrantz and Eva Ericsson. Gone.
My sleuthing didn’t take long. Cue defiant nine-year-old.
“I just need it back for a while,” I say. “You can have it after that.”
“Why do you need it?” comes her careful, tinged-with-defiance reply.
“Because I’m going to read it and tell people about it on my blog.”
“I’ll tell them about it.”
“O-kay… what would you say?”
“That I love it. And Dani is me and Ella is Tessie. Because I’ve got white hair and Tessie’s got black hair and we are best friends and the adults can’t stop us from being best friends even though she lives far, far away. But Dad’s not Italian like Dani’s Dad and he doesn’t say “amore” when he kisses me goodnight. And you’re not dead like Dani’s Mum.”
Her eyes flick up at me, contemplating my alive-ness.
“In the books Dani gets sad because Ella is so far away and there are mean boys in her class and she doesn’t like her Dad’s new girlfriend because she’s still sad about her Mum.”
Her shoulders rise and sag with a giant exhalation.
“This time they go to the zoo and she gets lost and Ella was there with her school too and they went on an adventure and they buried their friendship necklaces in a hole in the ground. Then they got in trouble and Ella’s teacher was mean and carried her off like a sack of something.”
She pauses, aggrieved.
“And Dani has guinea pigs called Snow and Flake and they live in her room! Like my fish Lemon and Honey but they’re not guinea pigs. Snow and Flake are really super-clever guinea pigs. You can tell because their eyes glitter.”
She goggles her eyes rodent-style and laughs.
“Dani is funny Mum. And she knows about the silver lining. You know – in the clouds?”
A grand, skywards arc of hand, a breathy sigh… then she (and the book) are gone.
“See You When I See You” is a new story in the acclaimed chapter book series written by Rose Lagercrantz and illustrated by Eva Ericsson, due out in July. A stand-alone read, “See You When I See You” follows “My Happy Life”, “My Heart is Laughing”, “When I am Happiest” and “Life According to Dani.”
Lagercrantz and Ericsson (Sweden) are long-time friends and collaborators and it shows in this beautiful dance of words and pictures. The stories are rooted firmly in the domestic world – main character Dani navigates the subterranean complexities of home and family life, school and friendship. The adults in Dani’s life are fallible and she grapples authentically with a good measure of grief and disappointment.
Neither trite nor heavy-handed, the serious business of growing up is balanced by a sense of wonder and flourishes of twinkling humour. This series will most likely appeal to 5-7 year-olds as a read-together or an independent read for 7-9. We’ve eagerly anticipated and loved every book. Classics.
With thanks to Gecko Press for the lost and found review copy.