A Busy Year

Leo Lionni, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $7.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-679-82464-0

In this deceptively simple tale, Lionni characteristically hides a moral from which kids of all ages will profit. On New Year's Day, twin mice Willie and Winnie discover a ``snowmouse'' that appears to be holding a broom. But a voice announces, ``I am not a broom. I am Woody the tree!'' So begins a momentous friendship. The twins visit Woody each month and are thrilled when small buds and then leaves and blossoms appear on her branches. In June Woody confesses that she fears summertime, when people's carelessness with cigarettes and campfires causes many trees to die. Ready with a water hose, the twins protect their pal when a forest fire breaks out in July. After her leaves blow to the ground, the caring duo brings Christmas gifts to a cheerfully decorated Woody, and all are ``happy and ready for another busy year.'' With Lionni's zingy, inimitable art, this tall, paper-over-board book is a welcome addition to his distinguished oeuvre. Ages 3-7. ( Apr. )