cover image Soon, Annala

Soon, Annala

Riki Levinson. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05494-9

Anna can't wait for her little brothers to rejoin the family in New York. They've been apart for so long--it's already 1911, nearly a year since Anna, her older sister and brother and their parents left Kolbuszowa to forge a new life in America. Finally, word comes that Anna's aunt and uncle have booked passage for themselves and the boys (and a new baby as well). On the day they're due to arrive, Annala (the Yiddish diminutive used by her parents) waits anxiously on the wharf as several ferries unload passengers from Ellis Island--until the much-anticipated reunion at last takes place. In her conclusion to Watch the Stars Come Out , Levinson gracefully portrays narrator Anna's delight in her new country, as well as her eagerness to see her cherished siblings again. The story exudes warmth, a quality reinforced by Downing's ( A Ride on the Red Mare's Back ) light-drenched watercolors. Although some of the illustrations seem two-dimensional and not up to Downing's usual standard (perhaps due in part to the more subdued palette she's chosen), all of them skillfully communicate the love shared by this close-knit family. Like a picture book predecessor to Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family, this story neatly and sweetly conveys one of the many facets of the American immigrant experience. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)