The Three Lucys

By Booklist

This Lebanese child’s experience of an outbreak of violence is based, according to the author’s afterword, on the July War of 2006. After a weekend visit in bustling Beirut, little Luli looks forward to rejoining his three beloved cats—Lucy the Fat, Lucy the Skinny, and Lucy Lucy. But falling bombs drive Luli and his parents back to Beirut for more than a month, and when they return home to their village, only the first two Lucys greet them. As the residents clear away the rubble and it becomes clear that Lucy Lucy is gone, Luli remembers her: “Always in my memories and in my dreams, where there are no more bombings and the world is at peace.” In keeping with the narrative’s oblique message and restrained emotional tone, Kahn’s illustrations are luminous but low-key watercolor scenes featuring softly drawn figures—destruction is rarely visible. A poignant alternative to the intense Sami and the Time of the Troubles (1992), by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, or child’s-eye views of other wars for younger audiences, such as Sky of Afghanistan (2012), by Ana A. de Eulate.