Mud Family

Betsy James, Author, Paul Morin, Illustrator Putnam Publishing Group $15.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-399-22549-9
An Anasazi setting imparts freshness and originality to an ageless childhood dilemma: the unappreciative family. As severe drought conditions threaten the survival of Sosi's family, her parents and siblings become increasingly short-tempered. Hurt and resentful, Sosi creates a mud family from bits of wet mud, endowing the toy people with the tenderness and compassion her real family seems to lack: ``You are my lark, my lizard,'' says the mud father to his daughter. ``I will weave robes for you and never scold.'' When Sosi's parents exclude her from the rain dance, she holds a private ceremony with her mud girl. Her efforts bring about the much-needed downpour-and with it some much-needed attention from her family. ``You are my dove, my dragonfly,'' her father apologizes. ``You are Sosi, who brings rain to my heart.'' James's first-person narration conveys Sosi's conflicted feelings in simple, effective prose, unadorned by melodrama. Morin's (Orphan Boy) finely textured paintings have a 3-D quality-swatches of fabric and layers of color stand out from the sandy-toned background, and the clay dolls are particularly striking. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/1994
Release date: 10/01/1994
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 27 pages - 978-0-19-541075-4
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-19-512479-8
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-70810-4
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