cover image Sally Arnold

Sally Arnold

Cheryl Ryan, Cheryl Ryan Harshman. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-65176-5

Set in rural West Virginia, this comfortably predictable story from a first-time author reminds youngsters not to judge by appearances. Jenny Fox has come from the city to spend the summer with her grandfather. Bored and lonely, she idly imagines the eccentric, trash-scavenging Sally Arnold to be a witch. While spying on her one day, Jenny trips and falls into a creek. Sally rescues her and brings her back to her cabin. On her cozy porch, they weave baskets from the things Sally has collected and their friendship blossoms. There are no hairpin plot twists to watch out for--this is just a pleasant, slow Sunday drive in which the scenery is the point. Farnsworth's (Grandpa Is a Flyer) oil paintings are hazy, nostalgic affairs full of dappled sunlight and old timers playing checkers and the banjo in the country store, matching the text in its genial use of familiar conventions. Ages 5-9. (May)