cover image Halfway to Your House

Halfway to Your House

Charlotte Pomerantz. Greenwillow Books, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11804-4

Pomerantz ( All Asleep ; Where's the Bear? ) charts the ordinary wishes and activities of preschoolers in low-key light verse, but the real voltage here is generated by Vincent's evocative art. Two friends agree to meet each other halfway between their houses, and will ``decide about the other half / when we come to the halfway line.'' The narrator of a poem that begins ``Peek-a-boo'' complains that no one ``can tell /who hides, /who seeks, / when everyone is / sneaking peeks.'' The 30 untitled verses sometimes disappoint with belabored attempts to imitate the voices of children: ``I'd like to pat that cat, /that little kitty cat, /that itty bitty /soft and pretty / little kitty cat.'' Vincent's ( Ernest and Celestine ) engaging illustrations, originally published in France with a different text by Pili Mandelbaum, feature loosely wrought watercolor sketches with soft pencil outlines and pastel washes. Both cozy and animated, the pictures radiate a lively understanding of childhood. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)