cover image Whistle Home

Whistle Home

Natalis Honeycutt. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05490-1

A spunky aunt remedies an acute case of separation anxiety in this feel-good story, the first picture book from YA novelist Honeycutt ( Ask Me Something Easy ). The narrator and her dog join Aunt Whistle on an apple-picking excursion after Mama heads into town in the pickup truck. When the pooch bounds away to hunt rabbits, the youngster becomes tearful from ``too much leaving.'' Aunt Whistle promises to bring the dog home, boasting that she has whistled home ``a pig from his wallow,'' ``a sheep from clover'' and ``your uncle Bob from Kansas City to marry me.'' The first-person, present-tense narration serves up folksy, literary comfort food: ``Then Aunt Whistle sets down the comb and gets me all tangled up in one of those hugs, and says, `She is coming back. Yes, she is. Not right away, but soon, she'll be back. I don't need to whistle for her.' '' Cannon's ( You Hold Me and I'll Hold You ) bold acrylics--rendered in striking purples, blues and reds--utilize unusual perspectives and inset illustrations to convey both the plot and its emotional content. Particularly winning are her depictions of Aunt Whistle (purple knit cap plunked down over long braids) and the famous whistle that ricochets from her mouth as jagged red lightning bolts. Ages 4-6. (Sept.)