cover image June is a Tune That Jumps on a Stair

June is a Tune That Jumps on a Stair

Sarah Wilson. Simon & Schuster, $14 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-73919-5

Like Wilson's Muskrat, Muskrat, Eat Your Peas! , this musical collection of poems is finely tuned for toddlers and preschoolers. The subject matter, language and imagery are gentle and playful, and include observations of boats, snails, squirrels and such ordinary activities as slamming the back door or spinning a top. Wilson's language is rhythmic and simple--``Tick-a-tock / morning, / tick-a-tock / day /both socks on / now, / I can play,'' says a child upon getting up, and children watching the night sky observe that ``little stars / like fireflies / twinkle / through / branches / laced in sky.'' Her verbiage however, seems frequently too metaphorical for the intended audience, as in ``a bed / is a hug / for a small / sleepy cat.'' These upbeat poems, accompanied by Wilson's pastel palette and unvarying cheer, present a world where children can be ``friends forever.'' Even though both art and text seem derivative at times--making the characters seem like Campbell's Soup kids on vacation--the cherubic round faces of Wilson's children and animals are generally sunny and appealing. Ages 3-7. (June)