cover image The Lonely Scarecrow

The Lonely Scarecrow

Tim Preston. Dutton Children's Books, $14.99 (19pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46080-0

Winter snow transforms a scarecrow into a friendly-looking snowman, no longer frightening to the local animals, in this warm-spirited story with dainty, embossed artwork. Preston, a newcomer to children's books, describes the scarecrow's emotions as inextricable from the changes in the seasons: ""The happy song of the lark [was] drowned out by the whispering of the wheat. Marooned in his golden sea, the scarecrow lost hope of ever making friends."" Fortunately, when the snow thaws, the animal friends he makes as a snowman still recognize him in his scary springtime guise. The book owes much of its strength to Kneen's (Milly's Wedding) delicate renderings of farmyard creatures and nearly lifelike views of the scarecrow bursting from square framed seasonal vistas. The pleasingly plump animals look as snuggly as plush toys, and the scarecrow's emotions seem palpable. A lavish use of embossing defines snowflakes in wintry landscapes and adds texture to the many poppies, autumn leaves and animal tracks. This invitation to readers to touch the book's pages complements the story's tender theme of intimacy. All ages. (Sept.)