SATURDAYS AND TEACAKES

Lester L. Laminack, Author, Chris K. Soentpiet, Illustrator , illus. by Chris Soentpiet. Peachtree $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-303-0

Laminack (The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins ) takes a sweet trip down memory lane in this ode to his grandmother, but forgets that his passengers need more than nostalgia to make the journey worthwhile. "When I was nine or ten years old I couldn't wait for Saturdays," the narrator begins. Set in Alabama in 1964, the slice-of-life story reveals the emotional connections forged by a boy's weekly bike trips to visit his grandmother "Mammaw." They share meals, time on the porch swing, yard work and making teacakes (the recipe for which is on the publisher's Web site). Tactile descriptions help engage readers ("[The dough] was smooth and pale yellow and smelled like fresh cotton candy at the county fair") but the slow-paced, minimal action may lose them. For example, a moment-by-moment itinerary of the boy's bike trip seems extraneous. Soentpiet (My Brother Martin ) creates an appealingly wholesome, Mayberry-esque vision of the town, with flower-filled yards, smiling gas station attendants and Mammaw's gleaming red and white kitchen. A high-intensity light seems to shine on his wide-ranging palette of watercolors, giving a souped-up, faintly surreal glow to these scenes of loving intergenerational ties. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-56145-513-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-56145-514-0
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