cover image The Catspring Somersault Flying One-Handed Flip-Flop

The Catspring Somersault Flying One-Handed Flip-Flop

Suann Kiser. Orchard Books (NY), $19.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05493-2

The heroine of this tale, who ``liked doing `boy things' so much more than she liked doing `girl things' that everyone called her Willy,'' invents an amazing gymnastic move which she dubs the Catspring Somersault Flying One-handed Flip-flop. When her parents and 11 siblings are too busy with farm chores to watch her trick, Willy runs away in a fruitless search for a more appreciative audience. She returns home, grumpy and convinced that no one even noticed she was gone, but her family takes turns telling ``the silliest story'' she's ever heard, all about the rowdy farmyard melee caused by her absence. Although the text implies that the topsy-turvy goings-on were merely imaginary, the artwork suggests that these events may have actually occurred, a tension lessening the book's impact. Catalanotto's ( All I See ; Who Came Down That Road? ) sun-drenched watercolors, as lush and complex as ever, upstage first-time author Kiser's rather muddled narrative. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)