cover image Chicken Sunday

Chicken Sunday

Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22133-0

Polacco--in the role of young narrator--introduces another cast of characters from her fondly remembered childhood. Brothers Stewart and Winston often invite the girl to join them and their Gramma Eula Mae--whose choir singing is ``like slow thunder and sweet rain''--at the Baptist church and to come for Miss Eula's bountiful chicken dinner. When the children hear Miss Eula longing for the fancy Easter bonnet in Mr. Kodinsky's hat shop, they plot to raise the money to buy it for her. Sharing her own family tradition, the narrator teaches the boys how to decorate Russian ``pysanky'' eggs, that both turn a profit and touch the heart of the crotchety immigrant hatmaker. Without being heavy-handed, Polacco's text conveys a tremendous pride of heritage as it brims with rich images from her characters' African American and Russian Jewish cultures. Her vibrant pencil-and-wash illustrations glow--actual family photographs have been worked into several spreads. Other telling details--Russian icons, flowing choir robes, Mr. Kodinsky's concentration camp tattoo--further embellish this moving story--a tribute to the strength of all family bonds. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)