cover image You Hold Me and I'll Hold You

You Hold Me and I'll Hold You

Jo Carson, J. Carson. Scholastic, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05895-4

A defiant girl is not cleaning her room when she hears her father, talking on the telephone, say he's ``sorry to hear that.'' She's worried--his words remind her of what people said when her mother moved out. He tells her his aunt has died, and she recalls her grief when her sister's hamster died. She also remembers ``preaching'' at the animal's funeral; later, when her father cries at his aunt's funeral, he whispers, ``You hold me and I'll hold you.'' The girl decides that these soothing words are ``what I'm going to say if I ever have to preach at another funeral.'' Carson ( Pulling My Leg ) has created an engaging and straightforward heroine to dramatize the impact of death on a child--this girl thinks, reacts and talks in a remarkably believable fashion, making her narration all the more touching. She reveals her struggle not only with the event itself but also with remembered traumas and with the grief of adults. Lightly tinted watercolors with collaged-in materials provide an unthreatening setting, and Cannon ( With Love From Koko ) paints a family of reassuringly lovable people. All the elements of the book combine to make this a moving and sensitive exploration of a difficult topic. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)