cover image The Tantrum

The Tantrum

Kathryn Lasky. MacMillan Publishing Company, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-751661-6

In this rather slight story that may disappoint readers of Lasky's more memorable books, including Sugaring Time and I Have an Aunt on Marlborough Street , Grace is having a tantrum. As she slams her head against the bed and bangs her feet against the wall, her parents try in vain to calm her down, and her older brother torments her with glib remarks (``Gracie's having a little tantrum, a fit, a fitsky''). Still the red-head stomps and fumes (``I felt my face turn monster green and tight as a wet knot in a shoelace''), even though she has forgotten what set her off to begin with. Recalling her brother's past tantrums, Grace is comforted by the thought that her mother is there to make her children feel safe at such times. And, Grace concludes, she too will grow up someday and leave tantrums behind, ``because scuff marks from big shoes look real silly on a wall.'' Though lacking the vitality and whimsy of her illustrations for Buffalo Girls and Ten Little Hippos: A Counting Book , McCarthy's cartoonlike watercolors convey just the right balance of amusement and commiseration. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)