cover image Dear Mr. Blueberry

Dear Mr. Blueberry

Simon James, Lloyd James. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50529-4

Told in epistolary form, this heartwarming tale concerns an ecologically aware girl who thinks she sees a whale in her swimming pond. She writes to her teacher for advice, but Mr. Blueberry--apparently a stolid sort--informs her that whales live not ``in ponds, but in salt water.'' Emily persists in her nurturing, however, to the betterment of her newfound friend--``He looked blue. Does this mean he might be a blue whale?''--and the delight of readers. Though everything looks blue for Emily when Arthur disappears from the pond, nature--and Emily--triumph in an ending that may bring a small, non-whale-sized lump to many throats. James's ( Sally and the Limpet ) latest book is a tribute to a child's love, imagination and pure caring. His ingenuous art displays many homey details (baby brother upends a cereal box as Emily reads Mr. Blueberry's latest missive), and the text beautifully contrasts the candor and directness of the child with the slightly pedantic, narrow viewpoint of the teacher. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)