cover image Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

Eileen Spinelli, Judith Stuller Hannant. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-786015-3

This warmhearted tale examines the effect that love and tender regard can have on a lackluster existence. Mr. Hatch is a drab, predictable gentleman who leads a painfully ordered and uninteresting life, his dreary routine at the shoelace factory barely broken by the same joyless lunch day after day. One Valentine's Day a giant candy-filled heart is delivered to Mr. Hatch with a note that reads, ``Somebody loves you.'' Just the thought of someone taking an interest in him completely changes the way Mr. Hatch interacts with his neighbors and co-workers. The newly adorable gentleman becomes so much a part of people's lives that when it is disclosed that the heart was delivered by mistake, his friends and neighbors rally around him in a loving demonstration. With its carefully measured pace, Spinelli's gentle prose is perfectly married to Yalowitz's ( Some of My Best Friends Are Monsters ; The Spooky Eerie Night Noise ) contemporary-style colored pencil illustrations, rendered with skill and sensitivity. Even the palette here changes with the story's mood, from dull grays and tans to cheery pinks, oranges and blues. Ages 4-7. (Jan.)