cover image Lights Around the Palm

Lights Around the Palm

Mavis Jukes. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-394-88399-1

Emma speaks the language of animals, though no oneespecially her brother Bobbelieves her, and her mother only humors her. She wants Christmas lights around the palm tree outside the house for a change, wound around the trunk ""like a Maypole.'' Taking out her alphabet book, she proceeds to her students for lessonsher class is composed of a horse, a cat, a pig, a duck, a couple of lambs and a chicken. When Emma locates Bob's lost balsa airplane, he joins in the game and decides to help with the palm-tree project. This story is an admirable attempt to create a flight of fancy, but it lacks the spark to truly capture the imagination and remains fixed to the ground. Generous dabs of deep, dark colors and oases of light punctuate each page. Ages 6-10. (September)