cover image The Carousel

The Carousel

Liz Rosenberg. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200853-6

When two sisters take a shortcut through the park one rainy winter day at dusk, the horses on the canvas-shrouded carousel magically come to life and take them for a thrilling twilight ride, soaring up into the sky above town. Something goes awry, however--the horses go wild, and it's up to the girls, with the help of their mother's tool kit and the elder sister's flute serenade, to set things right. Throughout the poetic text, there are hints of the girls' mother's death--the use of the past tense when she's mentioned, and a lingering sadness--and by story's end readers sense that a hurdle has been crossed on their road to healing. Rosenberg's atmospheric tale is greatly enhanced by LaMarche's (The Rainbabies) singularly luminous artwork; mist all but lingers on the pages, and his superb use of light and shadow underscores the element of magic threading through the story. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)