Do You Know What I'll Do?
Charlotte Zolotow. HarperCollins Publishers, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027879-3
Steptoe's (In Daddy's Arms, I Am Tall) bold mixed-media collages invigorate Zolotow's (Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present) tender 1958 tale of a girl's affection for her brother. As Zolotow's poetic images flow in a rhythmic question-and-answer format (""Do you know what I'll do when it snows?/ I'll make you a snowman./ / Do you know what I'll do when the wind blows?/ I'll put it in a bottle and let it loose when the house is hot""), Steptoe responds in kind. He depicts a bottle of wind containing snowflakes and a tiny image of the snowman built by the girl in a prior spread. His stunning illustrations, comprised of painted plywood, cardboard and paper, along with fabric, ribbons, buttons, seashells and so on, create layered, almost three-dimensional portraits of the striking African-American siblings. Their love for each other is tangible, yet he injects the same playfulness and humor inherent in the text. For ""Do you know what I'll do at the movies?/ I'll remember the song and sing it to you,"" Steptoe shows the sister striking a Billie Holiday pose, complete with flower hair ornaments and a fuchsia feather boa. Simple, rounded lines and a resonant white backdrop set off the brilliant colors (fans of John Steptoe's work can't help but notice a resemblance). Both author and artist prove they know how to convey a strong sense of familial love. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000