cover image LITTLE RED


Sarah Ferguson, , illus. by Sam Williams. . S&S, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-84340-2

The Duchess of York (Budgie the Little Helicopter) here presents a lollipop-sweet heroine in the tradition of Strawberry Shortcake. Williams's (Sleepy Me) soft-lined pencil-and-watercolor depiction of Little Red—she of the slightly spiky red hair, red-checked gingham dress and black Mary Janes—is instantly appealing. As the action begins, Little Red and her best pal, a jaunty lad named Little Blue, prepare a picnic lunch to take to Lily Pad Pond, on the edge of Bluebell Wood. Pink pony Roany, who pulls Little Red's turquoise wagon, and spotted dog Gino, are along for the fun. But the gang's "sherbert"-sandwich lunch is interrupted by the dreadful noise "Splat shwoosh thwack thump squeak splosh." Upon investigation of the situation, Little Red retrieves a helpful piece of rope from her "magic sack of smiles" and the team rescues a bunny stranded on a lily pad. Such is the adventure that makes a "buzz of a day," according to Little Blue. On the back cover, Ferguson alludes to the Little Red rag doll (it is associated with one of her charities). Readers who like to imagine the inner lives of toys may find much to appreciate here; for others, the outing may cause sugar overload. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)