cover image How to Get Famous in Brooklyn

How to Get Famous in Brooklyn

Amy Hest. Atheneum Books, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80293-5

In a sort of junior version of Hest's novel The Private Notebook of Katie Roberts, Age 11 (reviewed June 5), a strong-minded protagonist fills the pages of this picture book with ``her'' art and stories about her contemporary Brooklyn neighborhood. Much of the text is set on the ruled sheets of a spiral-bound notebook, presumably the repository for young Janie's observant jottings and drawings. From the women who frequent Margie's Hair Palace ``to try and get gorgeous'' to Mo and his wife at the corner deli, Janie has something to say about all the locals. The friendly hustle and bustle of community life is captured well, as is Janie's child's-eye view-who is building a swimming pool, which shops are kid-friendly, who sells the best fudge sundaes. Debut artist Sawaya's bright, people-filled acrylic paintings warmly document local life, the simplicity of folk art permeating her illustrations as if to suggest a child's vision. The image of Janie prowling the blocks or sitting scribbling on her front stoop in each frame may inspire readers to begin a little journal-keeping of their own. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)