Josephina the Great Collector

Dian Engel, Author, Diana Engel, Author Morrow Junior Books $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-688-07542-2
Josephina collects her treasures everywhere, from sea creatures (dead or alive) to miscellaneous junk, filling up the room she shares with her sister. She collects alone; it is her entire world. At bedtime, counting and remembering where she found each treasure are her favorite good-night activitiesby herself. Rose suggests, ``If you can't throw it out, why not lend it out?'' Josephina takes this half-step, but Uncle Mario, a collector himself, foils Rose's solution; he offers to lend objects from his own collection to Josephina, and the girls return home with more stuff than before. At last Josephina accommodates her family and takes her belongings to her tree house. Readers may have trouble empathizing with Josephina's need to take home fish bones, and both story and pictures portray a girl who is completely possessed by her possessions. Even though most children go through a collecting phase (and yes, some do develop lifelong passions for certain types of objects), this book blurs the distinction between a reasonable hobby and evidence of far more extreme behavior. In the illustrations, a variety of perspectives on Josephina's clutter might have infused this with humor and somewhat lightened the situation; but as it is, with page after page of rooms jammed with oddities, the art only emphasizes the problems with the story. Ages 4-7. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
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