cover image Eeny, Meeny, Miney Mole

Eeny, Meeny, Miney Mole

Jane Yolen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-225350-9

Just as children often wonder about the earth beneath their feet, the littlest mole here sets out to discover the world ``Up Above.'' When Eeny is told by her sisters that there is light as well as darkness, winter and summer too, she tries to imagine these concepts in familiar terms, envisioning light, for example, spreading like a blanket. Finally she burrows out of her hole and experiences spring. In its celebration of the duality and complexity of nature, Yolen's inventive text abounds with wisdom and humor--her imagery and linguistic skills lift the tale far above the ordinary. The older moles scold, ``Don't listen to addlepated centipedes''--using the kind of large, old-fashioned words children love to hear. When Eeny ponders things she has never seen, she thinks imagistically, like a poet: ``She wondered if light . . . touched in and out like the thread in the hem of a dress.'' Brown's gracefully droll watercolors--more mature in technique than in her earlier Mule dred --portray the underworld with fanciful touches: an acorn serves as a doll's carriage, a jonquil becomes a periscope. The palette of befogged earth tones is complemented by scattered spots of luminescence when lanterns, fire and glass light up the underworld. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)