cover image Charlie's House

Charlie's House

Reviva Schermbrucker. Viking Children's Books, $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84024-3

In a South African ghetto Charlie, his mother and Granny live in a corrugated iron house with a cement floor. Recalling how the men had built the shelter last summer, Charlie one day fashions a house of his own, molded out of mud and found objects. Charlie's ideal model--so different from his real home--has plenty of space, including his own bedroom, an indoor bathroom and even a television set. First published in South Africa, Schermbrucker's gentle tale speaks volumes about the difficult conditions that exist for many people in her adopted country. On another level, Charlie's is a hopeful story of the vivid imagination and soaring ambition of childhood. Daly's ( Not So Fast, Songololo ) sketchy illustrations and muted watercolors require close inspection to discern Charlie's building materials--a challenge that inventive young readers will enjoy. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)