Happy Birthday, Mr. Kang) delivers some of her most accomplished collages; unfortunately the writing is as muddled as the art is stron"/>

GRANDPA BLOWS HIS PENNY WHISTLE UNTIL THE ANGELS SING

Susan L. Roth, Author, Susan L. Roth, Illustrator . Barefoot $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-84148-247-7

With this prolix tale Roth (Happy Birthday, Mr. Kang) delivers some of her most accomplished collages; unfortunately the writing is as muddled as the art is strong. As his sister tells it, Little Boy James refuses to get dressed for church ("Grandpa never goes and I'm not going either"). He defies his mother, riding the horse bareback, walking along the top of the corral fence and climbing a ladder to reach the barn roof, all the while complaining about the preacher (given the rambling text, Roth is on thin ice when she speaks of "windbags"). Inventive, textured collages enable readers to view these escapades as though they are with the narrator, looking out the windows of her home. Then Little Boy James tumbles from the roof and lies unconscious on the ground, and the girl and Grandpa walk to church so Grandpa can talk to God. Interrupting the Very Reverend Wilson as he "drones" on about "burning in hell," Grandpa plays his penny whistle to summon angels, who then awaken the boy with their song. Roth's angels are charming, trailing white netting from their shiny silver haloes, but she outdoes herself with collages of the church's stained glass window, light streaming through. Simply composed of tissue paper squares placed atop white cloth, their bright music suggests the ineffable qualities imputed to the grandfather's song. Ages 5-10. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
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