cover image The Most Perfect Spot

The Most Perfect Spot

Diane Goode, . . HarperCollins, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-072697-3

The earnest young protagonist of Goode's (When I Was Young in the Mountains ) tale immediately endears himself to readers as he brings his mother breakfast in bed, along with a card stating, "I know the most perfect spot for a picnic." Mama dons her pink, wide-brimmed hat, and the two leave their early 20th-century Brooklyn apartment and head to the park, where several seemingly ideal picnic spots turn out to be anything but. After they climb into a rowboat, a flock of flapping ducks startles them, and they land in the lake. The two spread out their blanket on a sunny expanse of grass, only to be splattered with mud when horseback riders "clippety-clop " past them. As the rain starts to come down (pitter-patter-pitter, pat ..."), the duo finally gives up. In each case, the narrative repeats, "It seemed like the most perfect spot, but... suddenly ," the last two words appearing in large, hot-pink type. This repetition, as well as the onomatopoeic sound effects and bustling pictures of the primly dressed parent and child undergoing all manner of mishaps, make for a winning read-aloud. Along the way, kids will delight in spying the little dog (with a brown fur patch over one eye) who is responsible for most of the mayhem—and who returns Mama's now-ragged hat after wrestling it from the pooch that purloined it. They take in the heroic dog and name him Spot—"the most perfect Spot ." The book exudes a timeless charm and is, in fact, spot-on. Ages 4-8. (May)