cover image Amy’s Three Best Things

Amy’s Three Best Things

Philippa Pearce, illus. Helen Craig. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6314-8

“I’d like to go and see Grandma soon,” an exceptionally poised girl named Amy says to her mother at the beginning of this 2003 story from the late Pearce. “I’d like to go all by myself, and I’d like to stay the night.” In pencil-and-watercolor art new to this edition, Craig draws Amy standing straight in her T-shirt and flowered skirt, her hands folded in a statesmanlike manner behind her back as she puts the proposition to her mother. She packs her suitcase without help, then slips in the “three best things” of the title. When homesickness hits, the first object—her treasured bedside mat—picks her up and flies her home just long enough to see what her baby brother and dog are doing before whizzing her back to Grandma’s, delivering magical comfort like a carefully calculated dose of medicine. The other two best things fly Amy home, too, over Craig’s moonlit panoramas of the English countryside. Brisk acceptance of the reality of difficult feelings and understated humor make this a fine handbook for children on their way to new and strange places. Ages 4–up. (Nov.)