cover image Red Light, Green Light, Mama and Me

Red Light, Green Light, Mama and Me

Cari Best. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-09452-5

When her grandma catches the flu, Lizzie gets to commute downtown with Mama, who is a children's librarian. Although it is an ordinary day for her mother, to Lizzie it is filled with wondrous experiences: the subway ``roaring out of the darkness like a hungry lion''; the noisy, ``mirror shiny'' city; the vast library and its employees, who include Lizzie in their work duties and at lunchtime. The action is low-key-Best (Taxi! Taxi!) wisely realizes that an average workday needs no embellishment to enthrall a child. Awash in affection and Lizzie's growing sense of belonging, the day rises from the humdrum to the near magical. Daly (One Round Moon and a Star for Me) bolsters this effect with understated, slightly squiggly watercolors that are winsome and benevolent toward Best's gracious characters. Discovering kindness and satisfaction in the mysterious world of adult work, Lizzie (and young readers) just might feel better about saying good-bye in the mornings to come. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)