cover image Annie and Cousin Precious

Annie and Cousin Precious

Kay Chorao. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45238-6

Four-legged cousins don't always hit it off in Chorao's second book about Annie ( The Cherry Pie Baby ). This story, about the ambivalent affections of two young relatives, lacks subtlety, with polar-opposite personae locking horns. Cousin Precious is a brat extraordinaire in pink bows and a frilly skirt, while Annie, her older cousin, outfitted in baseball cap and shorts, evinces none of the spoiled prissiness associated here with conventionally feminine clothes. Annie finds it hard to be a good hostess to Precious, who always insists on having her own way and ``ruins everything'' and whose daintily shod feet produce a constant, annoying ``tippy-tap.'' The situation reaches a boiling point when Precious wreaks havoc in Annie's special playhouse. Chorao's ( Mother Goose Magic ) watercolor-and-ink, sugarspun illustrations aptly depict a wondrous miniature playhouse world, and readers will sympathize with Annie . The wrap-up, however, is stock; for a more affecting treatment of this theme, see Kevin Henkes's A Weekend with Wendell or Barbara Bottner's Bootsie Barker Bites. Ages 4-8. (May)