cover image Wing-A-Ding


Lyn Littlefield Hoopes. Joy Street Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-37237-4

Gammell, who won the 1989 Caldecott Medal for Song and Dance Man , performs more magic here, brilliantly using colored pencils to illustrate Hoopes's ( Nana ) whimsical story. When Jack opens a box labeled ``Wing-a-ding'' and throws its mysterious contents (a toy never seen by the reader) into the air, it gets stuck in a tree. ``Wing-a-ding, you dumb thing!,'' says the frustrated boy. One by one, his colorfully clad friends and neighbors come along, all carrying objects which, they hope, might retrieve the lost plaything. Soon the branches of the tree hold not only the Wing-a-ding but a boomerang, a cat, a broom, a fishing pole, a lasso, cowboy boot and even ``Cam, like a chimpanzee / swinging from the branches of the Willoughbys' tree.'' But still the elusive toy remains out of Jack's reach, even when all the children join hands, surround the tree and sing a song entreating the Wing-a-ding to fly down. Finally Jack whispers the words the Wing-a-ding has been waiting to hear, and it sails into his open arms. With Hoopes's breezy, musical rhyme and Gammell's glorious art, this book is a sure winner. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)