cover image George


Maggie Stern. Orchard Books (NY), $13.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30197-5

Brief sentences, punchy dialogue, ample art and a plucky young hero make Stern's (The Missing Sunflower) roundup of three tales a fine fit for youngsters just beginning to read on their own. ""Sometimes it is good to wait,"" cautions George's teacher wisely, though patience does not come easily for the impetuous boy. But he learns. For example, while helping to bake bread as a class project, George discovers that he can't rush the all-important ""secret agent"" (aka yeast). And at the school fair, the boy regrets his impulsive decision to put all his tickets toward a raffle as he watches his brother and sister use theirs to play various games. Stern slips a valuable message into these tidy capers while maintaining a light touch and capping each story off with a comic twist. Sims's (illustrator of the Kids of the Polk Street School series) energetic, pen-and-ink with watercolor pictures play a strong supporting role in portraying George's high spirits. Most youngsters will recognize at least a sliver of themselves in this feisty character. Ages 6-9. (Oct.)