cover image Laura Charlotte

Laura Charlotte

Kathryn O. Galbraith. Philomel Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21613-8

A girl who is afraid to go to sleep asks for the familiar story of Charlotte, her handmade stuffed elephant. It is the mother's own story, and though it is late, she tells it to her daughter. When she was five, her grandmother made her an elephant out of sewing box scraps and she named it Charlotte, ``the prettiest name in the world.'' There is some confusion about the generations--sometimes it's unclear just which grandmother is which--but Galbraith has written a gently reassuring story about the love that spans generations and is handed down with toys. It is also a tale of a girl getting older and outgrowing the need for a stuffed playmate and protector, but who nonetheless is saving it for her own child. Cooper's ( Grandpa's Face ) somber-toned illustrations envelop the reader in their warmth as they capture the mood of summer nights and cozy bedrooms. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)