cover image THUMBELINA


, . . HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-688-17476-7

Two-time Caldecott Honor artist Pinkney (The Faithful Friend; Duke Ellington) presents a visually snappy adaptation of this Hans Christian Andersen tale. Rendered in colored inks on clay board, the wispy art accentuates the natural setting among pond reeds and flower stalks, and features a sunny palette punctuated by electric hues. This Thumbelina, a black child who springs from a gold and flame-red blossom, spends her days floating on a tulip petal, "rowing on a little lake that was really a bowl of water decorated with flowers." In a rather choppy narrative, the author chronicles the tiny heroine's adventures after she is kidnapped by a toad (who sports a gaily patterned kerchief and has spectacles perched on her nose). Pinkney whimsically depicts the animal friends who in turn help Thumbelina escape from her captors, offer her shelter and whisk her away from the mole fiancé she does not love into the arms of the dashing, equally diminutive king of the flower people. Despite some stilted prose (e.g., "Thumbelina was glad to agree"), the imaginative illustrations gives this chestnut a fresh look. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)