cover image Molly and the Strawberry Day

Molly and the Strawberry Day

Pam Conrad. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021369-5

Molly's day begins with an expedition to a pick-your-own-strawberries farm; it ends with her placing a berry in each ear before saying goodnight, so as to make good on her father's prophecy that they will have the fruit ``coming out of our ears.'' In between, she helps her mother make preserves, eats meals centered on strawberries (dinner is ``spaghetti and strawberry balls'' followed by strawberries with cream), decorates the house with strawberries, and even dreams about them during her nap. Conrad's ( The Tub People ) story is nicely told but insubstantial, and its sweetness--like strawberry confections themselves--becomes cloying after a while. Molly's seemingly unqualified fondness for the fruit is odd but neither satisfyingly funny nor especially original (the dream sequence, for example, seems rote). Szilagyi's ( Thunderstorm ) figures are gentle but generic, her palette heavy and muddy, with little to evoke the airy, sun-drenched freshness of early summer. In the end, bland fare. Ages 3-7. (June)