cover image Kinda Blue

Kinda Blue

Ann Grifalconi. Little Brown and Company, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-316-32869-2

``I had me a fit of lonely. / I was feelin' kinda blue.'' So speaks young Sissy, who grows sad thinking about her father, who died shortly after his daughter was born. The text continues in the same easy style--ideal for reading aloud--with a regional dialect that creates an authentically childlike voice. In a sweet and heartening relationship (one that steers clear of the more conventional parental or grandparental variety), Sissy responds to her Uncle Dan, who knows just how to cheer her up. Taking a page from nature's book, he likens the ears of corn in the field to children (``See them fling they leafy arms? They wavin' hello!''), and teaches his niece a valuable lesson. This unforced, ingratiating tale exudes a quiet emotionality that is mirrored in large-scale close-up drawings of its two protagonists. Caldecott Honor-winner Grifalconi's ( The Village of Round and Square Houses ; Osa's Pride ) art, all soft colors and gently curving arcs and lines, captures the vulnerability of the child's face and the tenderness in her uncle's. The soothing, thoughtful amalgam of text and art can easily calm any child's ruffled spirits. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)