cover image All Those Secrets of the World

All Those Secrets of the World

Jane Yolen. Little Brown and Company, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-96891-1

The highly prolific Yolen ( Owl Moon ; Elfabet ) here relates a bittersweet memory from an important period in her childhood: the two years during which her father was away at war. She recalls the fun she and her cousin Michael had when the family piled into the car to go see Daddy's ship off at the docks--the children ate ice cream cones, but Mama ``cried all the way home.'' At the beach the next day Janie and Michael see some tiny spots on the horizon. Michael tells her that they are ships, but Janie doesn't believe him. (The specks are so small, she says, and her daddy's ship was so big. . . .) Five-year-old Michael teaches her a ``secret of the world''--as he moves further away from her, he gets smaller. When father returns and tells his daughter that she is ``lots bigger than I remembered,'' Janie explains, ``Now you are here, so I am big.'' This timely, nostalgic story is told with simple grace, and Janie's thoughts and experiences are believably childlike. Baker's ( The Third-Story Cat ) watercolors are poignant, evocative and contain just the right amount of sentimentality. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)