cover image Cool Ali

Cool Ali

Nancy Poydar. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $13 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80755-8

It hasn't rained in weeks, and the city block where Ali lives is mighty hot. While neighbors mop their brows and babies fuss, resourceful Ali beats the heat by drawing. With colored chalk, she creates a blue lake around Mrs. Frye's folding chair, a beach umbrella on the wall to shade her friend Ira, a polar bear on the sidewalk and white specks of snow all around. Her creativity does the trick, and the gathering crowds are ""thrilled to be chilled to the bone."" As an extra bonus, actual rain begins to fall, and though Ali feels disappointed when her artwork washes away, her neighbors' gratitude for her ""cool"" distraction more than compensates for her loss. Though occasionally sketchy and unfinished-looking, the busy illustrations offer kids ample diversion as they figure out what's real and what's not. A cool pick for summer reading. Ages 4-7. (Aug.)