cover image Dad Gummit & Ma Foot

Dad Gummit & Ma Foot

Karen Waggoner. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05891-6

For 50 years after their lovers' quarrel, Thomas and Clara are so crotchety that they are known by their favorite epithets, Dad Gummit and Ma Foot. They live ``alone in their separate houses,'' until Clara steals some of Thomas's milk for her blackberry buckle and Thomas steals some of Clara's berries to go with his milk. Stomping toward each other's houses, the two literally collide in the middle of a field at night, and when each sees how much the other has changed, they decide happily that there's ``no need'' to remain as foolish as they have been. In spite of the clever title pun and breezy style, it's questionable whether children will be as captivated as adults by this story of love regained. Nonetheless, Riggio's meticulously researched illustrations of this turn-of-the-century couple, filled with nostalgic detail, are remarkable for their characterizing depth. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)