cover image Pitching in for Eubie

Pitching in for Eubie

Jerdine Nolen, , illus. by E. B. Lewis. . HarperCollins/Amistad, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14917-8

Imbued with warmth, Nolen’s (Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm ) story about a family working together toward a common goal will appeal to many audiences. When everyone pitches in to raise the money needed to accompany Eubie’s college scholarship, youngest sister Lily, the narrator, has trouble finding a way to contribute. Doing dishes, feeding the chickens, and setting the table so her mother can sew just don’t seem important enough jobs to Lily. Lewis’s (Coming on Home Soon ) radiant paintings show Lily in many moods—discouraged because no one wants to buy her iced tea; industrious as she readies a pet-sitting business and the sunlight winks through the slats of wood in the barn; and perplexed as she sits on the porch, trying to think of another job. Each painting helps advance the action and delineate the characters. The rural setting seems timeless, and the entire family’s support of the idea that “dreams are meant to come true” is the glue that holds the plot together. Nolen’s leisurely text has a good balance of dialogue and description but never strays far from Eubie’s problem. That the ending is predictable makes it more, not less, satisfying. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)