Losing Things at Mr. Mudd's

Carolyn Coman, Author, Lance Hidy, Illustrator, Lance Hidy, Photographer Farrar Straus Giroux $14 (1p) ISBN 978-0-374-34657-7
A six-year-old girl softens the heart of a Scrooge-like relative in this picture book that marks its creators' debut. Mr. Mudd maintains his home with the austerity of a museum guard; when Lucy visits, she quickly becomes frustrated at the ``chairs she was not allowed to sit on and music boxes she was not allowed to wind up.'' (Even the books are ``far too delicate'' to be touched.) A ruby ring and a ``lost'' tooth prove the catalysts for a confrontation between the girl and her host--an encounter that brings greater tolerance and understanding to both participants. Though Coman's story offers potentially valuable messages, they tend to be obscured by phraseology almost as stark as Mr. Mudd's housekeeping. Hidy's illustrations are proficiently executed--their trendy colors and pleasing composition bespeak a definite polish--but here, too, a certain sterility prevails. Youngsters at the book's intended age range may be put off by Mr. Mudd's gruffness--even his eventual relenting bears a grudging tone. Despite the collaborators' evident talents, their work generally lacks child appeal. Ages 3-8. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1992
Release date: 05/01/1992
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