In this wordless tale, a chosen family forms. . .A few carefully placed pride rainbows make queerness explicit: a barely noticeable rainbow belt; a rainbow hat, tiny in a distance shot; and, finally, an unmistakable (and unprecedented for this shop) rainbow flag hanging outside the business at the very end. Careful readers may deduce that the Asian tenant is a transgender man, signaled through an extremely subtle plot point. Poverty and the child’s early loneliness are subtle too, but warmth never is. A wordless, singing infusion of love and energy into a home.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A dedication to trans activists and some characters who are nonbinary in dress and clothing make a simple message of love and acceptance resonate subtly. In this wordless book, there is comfort in familiarity, but sometimes a little change can shed new light on everything. . .This wordless story manages to speak volumes. Detailed images fill each page, requiring careful study and observation to understand the entire story. Multiple frames appear on each page, creating a more robust narrative than is often found in picture books. . .This meticulously detailed tale spreads a heartwarming message of renewal, hope, friendship, and compassion.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
A child helps create community in this wordless tale by Lawson (Over the Rooftops, Under the Moon). . .With a sure line and growing touches of color and adornment as the couple brightens their space, Leng captures the snowball effect of the girl’s and the couple’s efforts. It’s a story about warmth, hospitality, and the way human beings can learn to change at any age. Though it’s resolved with compassion, the grandparent’s initial reluctance may call for some context setting.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
As in Sidewalk Flowers, author Lawson conceptualized the story for this wordless picture book. Here, words appear only as text within the illustrations (a sign displays the name of the titular shop as Lowell’s General Store; a card in the shop window reads “Apartment for Rent”). Leng’s watercolor and ink illustrations channel Quentin Blake and David Small in their loose lines and expressive characterization. . .Deft use of panels helps establish the sequence of event.
—The Horn Book