cover image PEEPERS


Eve Bunting, , illus. by James Ransome. . Harcourt, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-260297-0

In this somewhat sleepy story by the creators of Your Move, the young narrator and his brother, Jim, help their father with his business, bus rides for "Leaf Peepers" to view the fall foliage. The boys roll their eyes at the Peepers' awe and playfully mock their inevitable remark: "Oh!... Look! Look, how beautiful!" Though the brothers discover several diverting sights, for the most part they remain quite bored with the tour (which includes stops at a pond, cemetery, river and pumpkin patch) and readers may feel the same. As tourist season ends and Bunting's (Gleam and Glow, reviewed above) story winds to a close, the youngsters sit outdoors one chilly evening, admiring the starlit sky. Admitting his embarrassment at letting down his guard, the narrator notes, "I guess our winter sky is always like this, but I just never noticed. I'm seeing it now the way the Peepers would see it." At their best, Ransome's acrylic paintings present lifelike portraits of the characters and glimpses of vibrant fall colors dotting the landscape. Yet the vivid colors do not completely compensate for the uneventful plot. Ages 6-9. (Sept.)