Ndito Runs

Laurie Halse Anderson, Author, Anita Van Der Merwe, Illustrator
Laurie Halse Anderson, Author, Anita Van Der Merwe, Illustrator Henry Holt & Company $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-3265-9
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On her way to school, a nimble girl races barefoot across the Kenyan countryside in this energetic tale, the author's first. As Ndito's ""strong feet sing fast in the dust,"" she ""calls up animal dreams to keep her company."" She imagines herself a gazelle, a goat, a wildebeest, an ostrich and other native creatures, realistically depicted in van der Merwe's grainy acrylic-on-canvas paintings. With its earth-tone palette and affectionate depictions of the local people and landscape, this South African artist's work is more memorable than Anderson's lyrical if sometimes labored text. Youngsters may, for example, stumble over such muddled similes as ""Ndito springs straight up like a warrior watching cattle."" Even so, both narrative and art paint an appealing portrait of an unusually vivacious heroine. Readers are sure to join Ndito in her enthusiasm. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
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