cover image I'll See You in My Dreams

I'll See You in My Dreams

Mavis Jukes. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-679-82690-3

The familiar sentiments of an Amelia Earhart-inspired fantasy (``If she were a skywriter, she would wait for the sky to turn pink and blue--the colors of dusk or dawn'') that open this heartfelt story turn out to be the futile hopes of a youngster en route to a visit with her dying uncle, a pilot. Jukes ( Like Jake and Me ; No One Is Going to Nashville ) is deliberately vague about the uncle and his illness, focusing on the narrator as her thoughts ricochet from what she'd like to do to what she must do. Readers are led to assume that the girl's extensive knowledge of planes and flying, which she recites to herself like a pacifying mantra, is the result of her relationship with her uncle, although this rather shadowy link may need to be explained to younger readers. In the transition from fantasy to reality the text bogs down a bit as the actual situation is explained; yet this, too, mirrors the heaviness of the information to be absorbed. Schuett's ( Is It Dark? Is It Light? ) paintings accentuate the dreamlike quality of the text with a somewhat soft-focus rendering of figures fringed in light, and with dramatic, radiant skies. While noble in its effort and handsome in its execution, this book may raise more questions than it answers in literal-minded youngsters. Ages 5-10. (Mar.)