The Wish

Elle Van Lieshout, Author, Erik van Os, Author, Paula Gerritsen, Author , illus. by Paula Gerritsen. Front Street/Lemniscaat $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-932425-91-8

This trio of Dutch newcomers suggests that even little wishes can bring great happiness. Lila, a red-headed woman in a billowing blue dress and stark-white apron, lives "far away from the rest of the world," sowing seeds, picking beans and making applesauce. She's got a big orange cat, and a neighbor with a red tractor, but in the deep of winter, when she runs out of food, she's on her own. Gerritsen draws the potentially tense empty pantry scene tongue-in-cheek; the cat peers mournfully through an empty glass jar. Lila wishes on a star for enough flour to make bread, and gets it. "Of course, she could have wished for something completely different...," the narrator explains, "a mountain of gold and diamonds, a carriage, and a palace with servants." Fantasy spreads show Lila ill-at-ease in a Cinderella-style ball gown. Lila does, however, hazard one extravagant wish, for "two cakes—and a tractor—shiny red—with a chauffeur." For younger readers who can't connect the dots, Gerritsen depicts Lila and the neighboring farmer tearing through the sunflowers in the tractor, the cat hanging gamely to the smokestack. A heavier-handed setting might have made readers impatient with Lila's stubborn refusal to wish big; as it is, they will wish they could meet Lila themselves. Ages 2-up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/08/2007
Release date: 01/01/2007
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