cover image Lucky Pennies and Hot Chocolate

Lucky Pennies and Hot Chocolate

Carol Diggory Shields. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46450-1

How does a grandfather enjoy time with his grandson (and vice versa)? Shields (Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp) counts the ways in this winsome picture book. ""My favorite person in the world is coming for a visit,"" the narrator announces as a cheery watercolor illustration depicts grandfather and grandson greeting each other. The narrator then imagines all the fun things in store: sharing knock-knock jokes, snacks (""We love hot chocolate, with as many marshmallows as we want!""), a game of dominoes (""I hate to lose. Come on, just one more game"") and a ride in the car with the top down (""Even when it's freezing""). But as the list of favorite pursuits draws to a close, readers will be surprised to learn who has been doing the talking. Skillfully blending warmth and youthful exuberance, Shields's lighthearted and immediate text holds appeal for a wide range of readers. Debut illustrator Nakata serves up a series of perky vignettes that seemingly dance on the white page. She creates a coziness with loose lines, homey details and plenty of smiling faces--something like a blend of the styles of Elisha Cooper, Holly Berry and Jennifer Plecas. If her approach is not wholly original, it's pleasing and easily captures the protagonists' tenderness and talent for fun. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)