cover image Tales for the Perfect Child

Tales for the Perfect Child

Florence Parry Heide. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (79pp) ISBN 978-0-688-03892-2

Chess's pictures of anthropomorphic bears, imaginatively attired, do justice to these stories, among the most fiendish inventions by the author of the Treehorn epics. Heide soberly recites trenchant stories of the ways adopted by boys and girls beside whom even really rotten children would seem perfect. Harriet, for instance, assiduously practices whining and proves unbeatable at the art. ""A good whiner sticks to one subject . . . never gives up.'' Harriet wears her mother down and gets her way, no matter how long it takes. Then she rests, stops whining, until it's time for another match. Irving likes to wear disgraceful clothes and loll about the house. When his mother orders Irving to dress in his best and pay a social call with her, he obeys. Then he gets so dirty, accidentally, that he has to stay home. The other kids in the book are equally ingenious at evil and good for laughs. (710)