cover image Umbrella Day

Umbrella Day

Nancy Evans Cooney. Philomel Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21523-0

When Missy sets out for the day, she is burdened by a cumbersome, dusty umbrella because her mother told her it would be an ``umbrella day.'' Missy's not so sure--it's not even raining--but with or without the rain, she manages to put the umbrella to good use. First it is a toadstool, under which she serves a lovely tea. Then it is the tent of a wild animal show. And finally, like Pooh and Christopher Robin, Missy uses her umbrella as a boat. Whether in the world of nature or the world of the imagination, the many moods of this book are embellished by sometimes scumbled, sometimes sharply defined paintings. In her first children's book, the artist floods her canvases with intense color and carves out Missy's wistfulness with sure strokes. Cooney's text is perfectly attuned to the ups and downs of a child's day; she lingers on fearful moments long enough to add suspense, but not so long that Missy can't escape with grace. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)