cover image The Van Gogh Cafe

The Van Gogh Cafe

Cynthia Rylant. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200843-7

Miracles are always in the making at the Van Gogh Cafe in Flowers, Kans.: the small restaurant, housed in a renovated theater, has ``magic enough to last forever in its walls.'' Readers will share the wonder of 10-year-old Clara and her father Marc, the cafe's owner, as they witness a series of serendipitous occurrences involving stranded sea gulls, aged film stars, magic muffins, lost pets and mysterious travelers. As effective as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's charms at curing all manner of ills, the enchanted cafe instills faith and good will in its patrons. Newbery Medalist Rylant (Missing May) breaks new ground in producing this whimsical tale, dextrously weaving extraordinary events into the fabric of ordinary life. As she gently guides her characters toward their magnificent destinies, the strength of her imagination and the depth of her sensitivity will impress even the reluctant reader. Ages 8-12. (June)