In the Land of Milk and Honey

Joyce Carol Thomas, illus. by Floyd Cooper. HarperCollins/Amistad, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-025383-7
The creators of I Have Heard of a Land recreate another chapter from Thomas's childhood, her family's 1948 move from Oklahoma to California. In an author's note, Thomas mentions her adopted state's special "quality of light" and the "joy and possibility" reflected in the faces of those who migrated there. Light and joy are integral to Cooper's hazy paintings, too: the narrator and her siblings jump up and down as their sunlit train pulls into the station; from the train window, the girl sees a smiling migrant worker in a bright field; and light shimmers on musicians and dancers at "the welcome party" in San Francisco. Thomas's free-flowing verse is also hopeful, heralding the promise of the family's future life. Her imagery spans the senses, as the girl takes in the sounds, sights, and even tastes of her new home: "Daddy says,/ ‘If the lemons are big as oranges/ if the oranges are big as grapefruits/ if you bite into a strawberry/ and taste heaven in your mouth/ why, you're in California/ the Land of Milk and Honey.' " Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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