cover image Nothing Ever Happens on 90th.S

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th.S

Roni Schotter. Scholastic, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-09536-2

Eva wants to write, but feels that nothing interesting happens in her neighborhood. Contemplating her teacher's advice (""Write about what you know""), she observes her neighbors-Mr. Chang, with his newly opened but empty Seafood Emporium; Mr. Sims, an actor perpetually ""on hiatus""; Mr. Morley, the mousse maker whose mousse fails to tempt; and Alexis Leora, a lonely dancer who never smiles. Each offers Eva writing tips, as does a less bohemian neighbor who has just made soup: ""[Add] a little of this, a little of that. And don't forget the spice. Mix it. Stir it. Make something happen."" And it turns out that there is plenty of spice on 90th Street. The unexpected catalyst of events and the surprising turn they take make for an insightful and amusing look at the artistic life. Schotter (Dreamland) has a knack for creating dramatic situations filled with romantic characters. First-time illustrator Brooker adds to the momentum with her madcap visual pastiches-zany, stylized collages that offer glimpses of a captivating New York. Her characters wear unforgettable expressions (the poignant sadness of Alexis Leora, the cool disdain of movie star Sondra Saunderson), and she dresses them in wonderfully inventive clothing (Mr. Morley's shirt is made of a Blue Willow china pattern; Sondra Saunderson swishes by in an outfit straight from the golden days of Hollywood). Writers and artists of every age will find much here to savor-and to inspire them. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)