cover image Round and Around

Round and Around

James Skofield. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-025746-0

During an after-supper walk with his dad and dog, Dan asks, ``Why does the sun go down?'' His father begins to explain the earth's circling of the sun, but before he can finish, Dan fixes on the ``circle'' theme. Throughout their walk, Dan sees circles everywhere: a tree stump is lined with rings; Dad blows smoke rings with his pipe; tossed pebbles form circular ripples on the surface of a pond. The theme continues as Dad and Dan return home: the kitchen lamp casts a circle of light on the ceiling; pajama buttons are round. Images are commonplace--Skofield has missed only the ring around the bathtub--but Dan's obsession with roundness is true-to-type preschool behavior. Meanwhile Hale's watercolor-and-ink illustrations beautifully extol the relationship between an attentive (and apparently single) father and his son. A rondeau-like ending brings the story--yes--full-circle when Dan climbs into bed and suddenly remembers his original question. His dad's rhythmic reply could set sleepyheads spinning languidly into dreamland: ``night and day chase 'round the world. 'Round and around and around.'' Ages 3-7. (May)