cover image The Palace of Stars

The Palace of Stars

Patricia Lakin. HarperCollins Publishers, $14 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11176-2

Moving far beyond nostalgia despite her 1950s setting, Lakin brings wit and verve to this intergenerational tale, spinning period details into the stuff of wonder. Amanda and her great-uncle Max enjoy their regular Saturday outings to the zoo: ``When he came to call, they walked arm in arm all the way to their trolley stop. `I'm paying for two,' he told the conductor, and tossed their fare into the box.'' After he alters their routine and buys Amanda the Scottie purse she admires in a shop window, she saves up ``for weeks'' in order to reciprocate. She plans a surprise, a trip to ``a mansion filled with velvet and gold . . . the palace of stars,'' which turns out to be a spectacular movie theater. Though the ceiling that is supposed to glow ``with twinkling stars and soft clouds that floated through space'' is an anticlimax visually, Root's muted tones mostly suit the text. As in Hugh Can Do , small narrative spots stitch together full-page images with looming perspectives and art deco borders. Lakin ( Jet Black Pickup Truck ) describes this book as ``a love letter'' to the movie theater of her childhood Saturday afternoons, and the romance of her story lingers like a fine perfume. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)