cover image Once When I Was Scared

Once When I Was Scared

Helena Clare Pittman. Dutton Books, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44407-7

When the stove goes out, young Daniel is sent to the neighbor's to get hot coals. The night is dark and foggy and Daniel is in a hurry to return home. As he runs through the woods, he stumbles, struggles to break free and discovers he has become a fleet-footed, silver-tailed fox. Later, he trips again and is transformed into a silent bobcat. Before he reaches home, however, Daniel meets a huge black grizzly bearand in place of his cat's paws are his own leather boots and mittened hands. He drops the coals on the ground and begins to shake. But once again, Daniel finds himself transformed, this time into a soaring eagle. Pittman weaves together fantasy and realism in a powerful story about conquering fear. The dramatic watercolor illustrations and Rand's flawless handling of the transformations adds vibrancy and a sense of urgency to all of Daniel's varied adventures. Ages 5-8. (September)