Fruits

Valerie Bloom, Author, David Axtell, Illustrator Henry Holt & Company $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-5171-1
Readers may need guidance deciphering some of the words in Bloom's (Touch Mi, Touch Mi) rhythmic verse, presented in the Jamaican Patwa dialect; while the glossary defines such fruits as guinep, pawpaw and naseberry, readers are on their own for lines like ""Ten banana, mek dem stay."" But they'll pick up on the poem's ebullience without a hitch, lured into conspiracy with two spirited and sneaky sisters. The oldest sibling, the impish narrator, playfully teases her sister: after finding seven mangoes, she proclaims ""One fe you an' six fe me,/ If you want more, climb de tree."" Elsewhere she contemplates two guavas she has hidden on a shelf: ""When night come an' it get dark/ Me an' dem will have a talk."" The book has a pleasing visual balance, positioning text and a close-up rendering of each variety of fruit on the left-hand page opposite a sun-drenched, full-bleed painting of the two children either coveting, hiding, pilfering or consuming these Caribbean treats. First-time illustrator Axtell gives his oil paintings a grainy, stippled appearance, letting the texture of the canvas show through and adding vivid splashes of color. His evocation of the poem's lush tropical setting and brightly painted buildings offers a lively backdrop for Bloom's bouncy poem. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997
Release date: 03/01/1997
Paperback - 1 pages - 978-0-333-65312-8
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