cover image Dawn and the Round To-It

Dawn and the Round To-It

Irene Smalls-Hector. Simon & Schuster, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-671-87166-6

``Dawn always got up early in the morning,'' begins this tale about an African American girl. ``Dawn dawning at dawn is what Dawn's mother called it.'' Early or late, Dawn never seems to fit into anyone else's schedule. When she entreats her parents or her older brother and sister to play with her, she is invariably brushed off with laments of other obligations and promises to make it up to her, if they ``can get around to it.'' Then ``Dawn had a wild idea, a crazy idea.'' She draws round faces to present at appropriate moments: `` `It's a round to-it,' Dawn explained. `You always say you will play with me when you get around to it, and now you have one.' '' Smalls's ( Irene and the Big Fine Nickel ) wordy text fails to kindle either humor or pathos (the drawn-out ``punch'' line packs no wallop), and overdoes tenderness (the parents respond with instant tears and high emotion). Geter's illustrations reflect family warmth, but they, too, are solemn. Ages 3-6. (May)