cover image Cotton Mill Town

Cotton Mill Town

Kathleen Hershey. Dutton Books, $12.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44966-9

Like the young heroine of this tale, readers, too, will wish they ``lived in this cotton mill town,'' a place tenderly recreated from Hershey's childhood memories. Summers here are a time for swimming at the mill pond with Aunt, for berrying, fishing and walking to town for ice cream with the ever-adventurous Grandmama. Afternoons are for reading in the hammock, nights are for Chinese checkers on the porch. Taken separately, the small-time rural events are hardly momentous--but as a whole they form a tapestry sturdily woven of love. Winter is an inspired choice as illustrator; her color-drenched, highly stylized artwork provides a vigorous counterpoint to the text's nostalgic tone, and the crispness and clarity of her images enrich what could have been just a trip down memory lane with a soft-focus lens. Ages 4-7. (Feb.)