Ann Campbell, , illus. by Holly Meade. . Harcourt/Silver Whistle, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201933-4

Campbell (Dora's Box) extends an invitation to enter the realm of the fairy and folktale, with generous doses of humor: "The day that Queenie Farmer gave birth to fifteen daughters, her beloved prize cows got loose. Mr. Farmer went after them and never came back." The action unfolds around several of Queenie's daughters' birthdays, when the girls make a request of their mother, which she obliges willingly ("Her girls asked for so little, and Queenie wanted to give them so much"). The tasks always take her six days, with the payoff on Sunday. When she is asked to make 15 birthday cakes for their sixth birthday, for example, Mrs. Farmer grinds flour on Monday, collects eggs on Tuesday, and so forth, until, "On Sunday, the Farmer girls ate cake—five chocolate layer cakes, four yellow sponge cakes, three pound cakes, two ice cream cakes, and one angel food cake" (always a countdown from five to one). The girls up the ante as they mature, so that Queenie ends up going out to find 15 husbands for her girls then baby-sitting their 55 offspring on Sundays. Queenie's indisputable love, energy and ingenuity permeate the tale, while Meade (Hush! A Thai Lullaby) makes the most of the simultaneously born siblings, the seven-day motif, and Queenie's comical yearning for her lost Holsteins (she dresses herself and her "herd" of daughters in black and white). Like the narrative, the artwork mirrors the ebb and flo of life. In the end, it's Queenie's turn, as she happily paints Holsteins all week long ('til Sunday, of course). Ages 3-7. (May)