cover image When I Am Old with You

When I Am Old with You

Angela Johnson. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05884-8

``When I am old with you, Grandaddy,'' says a small black child, ``I will sit in a big rocking chair beside you and talk about everything.'' And he does, rushing and tripping through all the activities they share--walking on the beach, riding the tractor, visiting friends. As in Johnson and Soman's Tell Me a Story, Mama , the success of this serene book depends on its portrayal of the relationship between a child and an adult. Although the repeated line ``when I am old with you'' is unnecessarily coy, and the plotless text is somewhat static, the joy the two characters have in each other's company is richly evoked by Soman's vivid, burnished watercolors. Yellow halos of light surround the fireflies, a summer wind blows embroidered curtains through a farmhouse window, morning sun reflects on the water--but most beguiling are the faces of the child and his grandfather, which shine with warmth and love. Ages 4-7. (Aug.)