Every Monday in the Mailbox

Louisa Fox, Author, Jan Naimo Jones, Illustrator, Nan Naimo Jones, Illustrator
Louisa Fox, Author, Jan Naimo Jones, Illustrator, Nan Naimo Jones, Illustrator Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company $15 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5111-6
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When Mrs. Wilcox moves to a nursing home, she promises her next-door neighbor Melinda a letter every Monday. The girl treasures her correspondence and draws a picture of her pet, Fat-Cat, to send Mrs. Wilcox. But the elderly lady dies before Melinda mails it, and the girl is grief-stricken (``[the news] stung much deeper than the bee sting she got last summer in Mrs. Wilcox's garden''). In time Melinda devises a plan that she hopes will begin a new friendship-and continue her Monday surprises. First-time author Fox's take on the pain of losing older friends might benefit youngsters who have experienced a similar loss. But her prose frequently lapses into melodrama, and several of Melinda's reactions and ideas seem too advanced for a child her age. Jones's (Make a Wish, Molly) generally realistic watercolors exhibit the same penchant for overdramatization. In addition, her characters' expressions are often ungainly and their positions stilted. Though it addresses a worthwhile topic, this effort seems a bit synthetic. Ages 4-8. (July)
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