cover image At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads

Rachel Isadora. Greenwillow Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-05270-6

In spare, forthright prose, the author of Ben's Trumpet tells the poignant story of a homecoming. For a group of black children living in a South African shanty town, it is a very special day; after working in the mines for 10 months, their fathers are returning home. After school, the youngsters run to the crossroads to wait. Excitedly, they make music on instruments fashioned from wire, sticks and cans. A large group gathers and then gradually disbands as the sun sinks in the sky. But six resolute children wait patiently through the night. Finally, at dawn a rumbling truck appears, bringing the long-awaited fathers. Isadora's watercolors are equally effective--and affecting--depicting the blazing sky at sunset and the expressions on the children's faces, at once hopeful and apprehensive. Ages 4-up. ( May )