cover image Tina's Diner

Tina's Diner

JoAnn Adinolfi, Joan Adinolfi. Simon & Schuster, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80634-6

Adinolfi's (My Teacher's Secret Life) lighthearted excursion contains a bit of mystery (where is a plumber when you need one?) and zippy pastel-toned art. Tina's smoothly run diner has a little problem--a clogged sink--and while her burgers may be juicy and the pancakes always fluffier than pillows, without free-flowing water the diner grinds to a halt. As the dirty dishes pile up, Tina calls J.P. Pettifog, the best plumber in New York City, who is out of the office. The rest of the story follows the young narrator, who dashes off to Manhattan to find J.P. The stylized illustrations, with their topsy-turvy perspectives and cartoony characters, portray a diner setting circa 1950 (a la Happy Days), speeding urban vehicles (subways, ferries, helicopters and more), off-kilter skyscrapers, a Chinese pagoda and--to top it all off--a playful underground plumbing fantasy, complete with a crew of uniformed alligators. Tones of lemon yellow, cotton-candy pink and celery green radiate off the page and contribute mightily to the frenetic pace of the story, as well as highlight the multitude of clever visual plot accessories (Adinolfi decorates her skyscrapers with water pipes; the dishes and glasses are crazily stacked as if in a vaudeville routine). A whimsical adventure story that will leave many readers yearning for one of Tina's diner delights. Ages 4-8. (May)