CORNFIELD HIDE-AND-SEEK

Christine Barker Widman, Author, Pierr Morgan, Illustrator , illus. by Pierr Morgan. FSG/Kroupa $16 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-31547-4

Butter beans, "sun-dazzled" chickens and a matriarch who goes by the moniker "Mamaw" give this summer tale plenty of Southern spice. When her children disappear one by one into the lush, green cool of the cornfield on a scorching day, Mamaw gives up trying to get them back to their chores and finally decides if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Widman (The Willow Umbrella) packs in plenty of regional idioms, and even Grampy gets in on the action. "The sun is too hot. It's cookin' my peaches right on the trees. I'm goin' into the cornfield with the kidlins." Backing each of Morgan's (Snow Pumpkin) sun-bleached illustrations is a bright corn-yellow backdrop, befitting the baking weather. He frames the characters' red-cheeked, expressive faces with shocks of blonde hair. When Mamaw no longer responds to their calls, her concerned family emerges from the cornfield to follow a butter bean trail that leads them straight back into the field where, this time, a smiling mother and a snack of ripe peaches await. A busy ending spread reveals everyone, farm animals and crows included, enjoying their languid retreat. This sunny story courts the senses and makes readers long for some lolling time in a "cool green lake under a hot yellow sun." Ages 3-6. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
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