cover image Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12897-5

Lilly the mouse idolizes her teacher Mr. Slinger, but when she comes to school flaunting three jingly quarters, movie-star glasses and a purple plastic purse ""that played a jaunty tune when it was opened,"" she interrupts Mr. Slinger's lessons on ""Types of Cheese"" and words that rhyme with ""mice."" After one too many disruptions, he confiscates the purse until the day's end. Lilly, humiliated, takes revenge by slipping a mean drawing into Mr. Slinger's book bag--only to open her purse and find a conciliatory note from her hero. Caldecott honoree Henkes (Owen) understands Lilly's enthusiasm for her prize possessions, but astutely shows that Lilly goes too far when she acts up in class (""She's in trouble,"" whispers a classmate in a voice-bubble aside). The perfectionistic watercolor-and-ink illustrations, in vignettes and panels, are as sharp as the narration. Henkes communicates Lilly's emotions through her eyes, so that when she goes from ""sad"" to ""furious,"" her eyebrows shift from U-shaped dips to hard slants; he also enlivens his scenes with tiny details, like Mr. Slinger's copy of Stuart Little. The author/artist offers useful, timeless advice for apologizing to a friend and resolving a conflict. A sympathetic and wise treatment. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)