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  • Writer's picturesara palacios


Written by Michelle Houts and published by Flamingo Books! Out in August 2023.

Friendship can withstand time and distance thanks to hope. A smiling scarecrow, “carefully crafted” and “wonderfully made,” in plaid flannel and a straw hat, watches over a lush and vibrant garden. A brown-skinned, dark-haired girl places him in the garden each spring and reads him adventure-filled stories each day, making the scarecrow feel brave. When winter comes, the stories keep him company during long months alone in a dark tool shed. The girl’s remark— “Hopefully, the scarecrow will keep the birds away”—gives the scarecrow his name and purpose. Excited about the next spring, which he is sure will be filled with stories from his friend, Hopefully is first perplexed, then lonely when someone else places him in the garden and months go by without any sign of his friend. One day, the girl reappears, having since grown up, and moves Hopefully to a new place— one filled with stories and which offers her intrepid friend a new purpose in life. Ideal for read-alouds, Houts’ precise, evocative text employs rich vocabulary and will appeal to imaginative youngsters. Palacios’ enchanting illustrations combine a vivid palette of reds, oranges, greens, and blues with an irresistible retro style that lends a timelessness to images of dragons, castles, sailing ships, and tiny scarecrow heroes that accompany scenes of the girl reading aloud. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A quiet, beautifully crafted friendship tale that’s just right for storytime.


Sketching character studies for Hopefully and some early ideas for thumbnails. We revisited the first page as you can see.

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