cover image Round and Round Again

Round and Round Again

Nancy Van Laan, Nadine Bernard Westcott. Hyperion Books, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0009-4

One person's trash is another's treasure, as this tale of a resourceful recycler demonstrates. Yet the tart pinks, yellows and greens and the slightly askew rhymes here don't add up to an entirely pleasing whole. An unnamed girl narrates; as she describes her mother's attachment to ``old things,'' Westcott (Skip to My Lou) illustrates creative uses for egg cartons (planters), scrap metal (a slide) and flour bags (awnings). A refrain (``Round and round and round again,/ over yonder and back again'') punctuates accounts of the mother's obsessive collecting habits. Eventually, the mother builds the family a mountainous home of secondhand items (``She took a bunch of worn-out doors./ She laid them flat to make the floors''), then ``painted the whole house rainbow plaid.'' Van Laan (Possum Come A-Knockin') sometimes stretches to reach her rhymes, and her main character comes off as more of a maniac than an eccentric. Westcott, too, goes overboard even as she evokes the amusement-park whirl of the narrative-her cluttered scenes and busy colors prove exhausting to the eyes. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)