cover image The Copper Tin Cup

The Copper Tin Cup

Carole Lexa Schaefer. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0471-4

A treasured heirloom inspires a boy's reverie about his forebears in this tender picture book celebrating the strength of family ties. To Sammy Carl, nothing tastes better than cocoa sipped from his favorite cupDthe copper tin one etched with the letters S and C (""S for Sammy. C for Carl . My name, my cup""). Although the cup seems to have been designed especially for him, Sammy knows it has had previous owners, beginning with his mother, Samantha Caroline, who used to drink lemonade from it. And years before that, the copper tin cup was crafted with love by Sammy's great-grandparents, Samuel and Carla. Schaefer's (The Squiggle) spare, smoothly flowing text clearly delineates the generations of one family, allowing young readers to grasp the idea of heritage. And mention of one relative's ""long sea journey to the family's new home"" may encourage youngsters to investigate their own roots. Identical in theme to Catherine Myler Fruisen's My Mother's Pearls (Children's Forecasts, May 15), this treatment is a bit more down-to-earth and features realistic illustrations. With soft, sometimes hazy watercolors, Fellows (The Dog Who Walked with God) creates an inviting family album, moving back through time to a 1960s kitchen, a 1930s-era farm and an early-20th-century passenger ship. His portraits exude an earnestness and warmth that have cross-generation appeal. Ages 4-8. (May)