cover image But No Candy

But No Candy

Gloria Houston. Philomel Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22142-2

In melodious prose, Houston looks at WW II through the eyes of Lee, an American girl living in the country. Every day the youngster takes a nickel ``from Mama's flowered dish'' and goes downstairs to choose some candy from the store that her father owns. But when war comes and Uncle Tom goes away to fight, the candy supply slows to a trickle then stops altogether as the war intrudes on Lee's sheltered world. Her hope for the war to end and her candy supply to be replenished becomes a refrain, poignant in its childlike simplicity. By book's end Lee has matured to understand that ``she would never be the same again'' and that even candy ``didn't seem as important as it used to be.'' Bloom's oils capture the unfettered freedom of childhood with an underlying thoughtfulness. Rendered in somber tones, with strong, stylized faces, the paintings' homey details create a reassuring setting for Houston's affecting narrative. The artist's evocation of mood adds a distinct depth of vision--his characters seem endowed with a sensitive wisdom. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)