cover image CECIL'S GARDEN


Holly Keller, Author, Holly Keller, Illustrator . HarperCollins/Greenwillow $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-029593-6

The grass isn't always greener, family-wise, Cecil the rabbit discovers. Frustrated that he and his two siblings can't agree on what to plant in their garden, he visits other animal families and realizes that things could be worse. Whenever the Mouse family wants to take a bath, for instance, they fill up the bathtub with so many toys that the mice themselves cannot fit; they can't agree on which ones to throw out and dump out the water instead. "We all fit. But we don't get very clean," grouses one of the mice to Cecil. Inspired by this and another negative example of a mole family that can't agree on when to wake up, Cecil returns to his home and figures out how his family can plant the garden and reap its bounty so "There is nothing to quarrel about and we don't have to waste another minute." Keller's (Horace; Brave Horace) ink-and-watercolor illustrations possess a sophisticated color sensibility even as they play up the implicit comedy in the situations. Her narrative underscores a universal message of how things can grind to a halt when the argument itself becomes more important than what's being fought over. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)