Gloria Whelan, Author, Gijsbert Van Frankenhuyzen, Illustrator , illus. by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. Sleeping Bear $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-58536-109-0

The rewards of hard work and a worthy goal is the theme of Whelan's (Homeless Bird) appealingly sweet story set in northern Michigan, "where the winter wind lays hold of you and the snow falls until everything is like a sheet of white paper." Though it is still summer as the tale opens, Mama knows that Holly will need a warm coat and boots when she starts school in the fall. Papa replies that Holly will have to stay home when the weather gets bad ("You can't expect money from carrots that grow in sand or cabbages that have to push away rocks on their way up"). But Mama is determined: "When I was Holly's age I missed school half the winter. Ever since, my learning's got big holes in it." Although van Frankenhuyzen's (Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot) close-up portraits can be stilted, he excels at lush, luminous paintings of mother and daughter picking five varieties of berries as each comes into season. A summertime spread of a blue heron and mother duck followed by a quintet of ducklings, a trout barely visible under the river's surface, provides convincing evidence of why the family would be willing to weather the harsh winters. The yield from the berry pickers (with some promotional help from Papa) clinches a mother-daughter triumph, as the closing image of the smiling, cherubic child standing in the swirling snow, snug in a fur-lined, hooded red coat, attests. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 12/01/2002
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