cover image Fickle Barbara

Fickle Barbara

Satomi Ichikawa. Philomel Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22020-3

The talented illustrator of Dance, Tanya and Bravo, Tanya here features her ballet-loving heroine's favorite stuffed animal. Ballerina Barbara Bear has a good life: she occupies the place of honor on Tanya's bed, and when she wants company, she tumbles to the floor to visit with her dearest friend, Ralph. Determined to expand her social circle, Barbara travels across the room one fateful day for what turns out to be a dull lesson in loyalty. Ichikawa's soft-hued watercolors capture the bears' endearing floppiness, and she infuses a large collection of teddies with raggedy individuality. Though Barbara's button eyes never shift, Ichikawa's compositions animate her characters and convey a spectrum of emotion. Too bad the text feels so vacant. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)