cover image FLYAWAY KATIE


Polly Dunbar, Author . Candlewick $14.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636

With minimal text and zesty cartoon art, the captivating heroine of this cheerful debut imagines herself out of a gloomy mood. Stuck inside on a "gray, gray day" with "no one to talk to except herself," Katie initially looks gray, too. She quickly decides "the picture on [her] wall look[s] like a much better place to be," and announces, "I need some color." Dunbar's mixed-media illustrations gradually transform the gray scene as Katie dons a green hat, yellow tights, blue shoes, etc. (kids learning color concepts will be tickled pink). She even paints her face blue and her arms with orange stripes until she gradually resembles the birds in the painting. With the words "a flittery/ fluttery/ flighty/ fizzling!/ Whoosh !" accompanying five pages of accelerating, fireworks-like bursts of colors, Katie flies into the picture on the wall and plays with the birds, "until it [is] time to fly home for her bath!" Dunbar keeps the text streamlined and simple, adding Katie's reactions in speech bubbles throughout. When the heroine introduces herself to the birds ("Hello, I'm Katie!"), each bird amusingly answers with the same single bird word: "Tweet." The magical makeover, a literal flight of fancy, will make readers' spirits soar, too. Ages 2-5. (July)