cover image On the Trail with Miss Pace

On the Trail with Miss Pace

Sharon Phillips Denslow. Simon & Schuster, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-728688-5

This tale of a Western vacation-complete with horses, nights under the stars, and romance-may be a bit too lovey-dovey for young 'uns, but the art is A-OK. When Miss Pace, a teacher, heads west for the summer, she finds her twin students, the seemingly parentless Phil and Bill, at her dude ranch. The boys give Miss Pace no peace, following her everywhere and taking a particular interest in her friendship with cowboy Last Bob and his pinto, Handshaker. Despite a few moments of rough-and-tumble excitement, this is essentially a love story featuring Miss Pace and Last Bob. Denslow (Night Owls) leaves a number of details unexplained. After Miss Pace falls off Handshaker, she calls him a ``belly bloater''; elsewhere, everyone admires an undefined ``glorious borealis.'' But Karas's (I Know an Old Lady, reviewed Feb.13) kicky drawings, in crayony earth-tones, incorporate dried flowers, cardboard, hat and saddle trinkets, etc. Some illustrations are framed in lasso loops-unfortunately, even that inventive touch can't keep the text on track. Ages 4-7. (May)