cover image Scooter


Vera B. Williams. Greenwillow Books, $17.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09376-1

In her latest work, Caldecott Honor artist Williams ( ``More, More, More,'' Said the Baby ; A Chair for My Mother ) strings together a series of short vignettes to form a bouncy novel about a girl's adjustment to her parents' divorce. Elana Rose Rosen and her mother relocate to an apartment in a big city housing project where ``Lanny'' spends the summer making friends and practicing her favorite scooter tricks. She meets a virtual smorgasbord of kids and kindly neighbors and forms a special attachment to a boy named Petey who doesn't speak. Elana blossoms in her new environment with only a minimum number of tantrums or sad thoughts about her now-fractured family. The end-of-summer--and end-of-novel--Borough-Wide Field Day provides occasion for all the characters to let their talents shine. Though the era in which Lanny's adventures take place is never specified, numerous details suggest a setting of a few decades ago; happily, the story's universal themes and situations never seem dated. Feisty Elana's forthright voice supercharges the first-person narrative. Inventive hand-lettered acrostics open each chapter of this oversize novel, and a smattering of recipes and black-and-white spot illustrations lend an air of childlike authenticity to the account. Williams announces her versatility with this satisfying project. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)