cover image Junk Pile

Junk Pile

Lady Borton, Lady Borton. Philomel Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22728-8

Too young to ride the bus to school, shy little Jamie Kay spends her days in the Appalachian hollow that is home and helps her father in his junkyard. She decorates their front yard with a hubcap garden, but the children who ride the bus with her wheelchair-bound brother laugh at it and call her Junk Pile. When the teasing grows too painful, Jamie and her dog Wing escape to an abandoned bus in the woods and ""fly"" to freedom. She longs for a friend, though, and her strategy for wooing the ringleader of the taunting with presents of spare auto parts makes for an effervescent, life-affirming tale. Borton (Fat Chance!)-herself a school bus driver and resident of Appalachia-gracefully plumbs the heart of the story and presents readers with an imaginative and resilient heroine. Her thoughtful text is well paired with Root's (When the Whippoorwill Calls) precise and slightly stylized illustrations. Shaded with the ruddy hues of old cars and stony soil, their delicacy expresses Jamie's longing and joy. Deceptive in its simplicity, this picture book continues to resonate long after the final page is turned. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)