cover image Hands


Lois Ehlert. Harcourt Children's Books, $13 (20pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201506-0

Ehlert (Color Zoo) works visual magic in showing how an artist's creativity flows through the hands. Straightforward text in the voice of an observant child relates the many ways in which family members work with their hands to create small masterpieces in the everyday world. From Dad's carpentry and Mom's sewing to their collaboration on a bountiful garden, hands are the key implements. In the midst of all this colorful activity, the child discovers her own methods of artistic expression. The imaginatively designed book, featuring a diecut cover in the shape of a pair of bright yellow work gloves, opens to reveal smaller rectangular pages interspersed with spreads of unusual size and shape (e.g., resembling handprints, scissors, even a paintbox that opens). Striking photographs of fabric, ribbon, tools, wood and seed packets give the book an appropriately tactile quality. This inventive effort deserves nothing less than a big hand. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)