cover image Lights on the River

Lights on the River

Jane Resh Thomas, Michael Dooling. Hyperion Books, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0004-9

Following crop work from farm to farm, Maria's migrant-worker mother tells the family, ``We carry our house on our backs.'' The intense labor, meager wages and squalid living quarters take their toll, and, to make things more bearable, Maria concentrates on her Abuela and the Christmas Eve tradition of floating candles on the river. Thomas's text flows languidly as she paints this harsh but very realistic setting. Her emotional prose sometimes sounds wistful and is never imbued with a false sense of hope, while Dooling's skilled oil portraits reveal a broad range of feeling. This unusual volume resonates with integrity and is not soon forgotten. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)