cover image The Marvelous Market on Mermaid

The Marvelous Market on Mermaid

Laura Krauss Melmed. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13053-4

Melmed's (The Rainbabies) verse is rich and right on target in this nostalgic, big-hearted cumulative tale. Borrowing the meter of ""The House That Jack Built,"" she walks the reader straight into Grandma's well-ordered store: ""This is the bell that ting-a-lings,/ when someone opens up the door--/ the sky blue door on Grandma's store,/ the Marvelous Market on Mermaid."" The neatly constructed verses erupt in a scene of marketplace mayhem, complete with a classic cat and mouse chase and a deserving stranger who gets a much-needed job with Grandma. Kids will enjoy the varying volume here, from the reasonably quiet opening to the boisterous ""eeeeeks"" and ""stre-e-eaks"" of the chase scene. Kovalski (The Wheels on the Bus) peoples the story with stout, folksy characters a la Margot Zemach. Setting the time in some bygone era when potatoes cost 10 cents a pound, she contributes pickle barrels, wicker baby carriages and other props that invite the reader's attention. Repeat visits to this market are surely in store. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)