cover image When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba

When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba

Eileen Kurtis-Kleinman, Diane Greenseid. Hyperion Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0082-7

Bodacious Aunt Lena is one of Broadway's biggest fans. Every Wednesday finds her at a matinee, and later she does a star turn herself, reprising the show for her niece at dinnertime. When Aunt Lena is laid up after a spill and forced to miss her weekly entertainment, Sophie whips up a homespun vaudeville act to cheer her, roping in as co-conspirators her two uncles, Dutch and Solly, and her grandmother. Their song-and-dance number is a hit, and as a thank you, Lena takes Sophie on her next Broadway jaunt. Debut author Kurtis-Kleinman's dynamic vignette of a close-knit, extended family is well served by Greenseid's (Cat Parade!) flamboyant illustrations. Loosely set in the '40s, like the text, her acrylics picture Sophie and company as comfortably lumpy figures, almost as if they had been modeled from clay. And the eye-popping blend of purple, green, turquoise and orange fairly leaps off the pages, effectively transmitting the exuberance of this captivating crew. Ages 5-9. (May)