cover image The Gold Coin

The Gold Coin

Alma Flor Ada. Atheneum Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31633-3

An elderly woman, Dona Josefa, sits in her hut, holding a gold coin. ``I must be the richest woman in the world,'' she says to herself. But unbeknownst to her, a thief, Juan, crouches at her window, watching and listening. When Dona Josefa leaves, Juan ransacks the hut but fails to find her treasure. Tracking the woman across the countryside, he misses her again and again--coming instead upon many people who have been helped by her. And when the thief finally does catch up with her, he is surprised to find that he, too, has been touched by her simple goodness. Set in South America, this beautifully designed book features an unusual, rewarding fable and Waldman's ( Nessa's Fish ) lovely, stylized watercolors. It's a rich collaboration, worthy of repeated readings. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)