cover image Easter Parade

Easter Parade

Eloise Greenfield, Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Hyperion Books, $13.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0326-2

In this holiday story set in 1943, Leanna, an African American girl in Chicago, and her older cousin Elizabeth in Washington, D.C., look forward to their respective Easter celebrations. The joys of black patent-leather shoes and hats with ribbons--de rigeur for the promenade to church--are mingled with the more serious concerns of tight finances and Elizabeth's father, who is off fighting in the Second World War. Greenfield's careful, emotionally astute writing convincingly portrays the girls' viewpoints and takes an original approach to the arrival of a long-awaited letter from the front: Elizabeth ""sits across the room from her mother, facing away from her. She wants to be alone and try to hear her father's voice."" Gilchrist, who previously collaborated with Greenfield on For the Love of the Game, contributes realistic, smudgy sepia drawings in the oval format of old photographs. The last one uses a burst of color to convey the excitement of the parade for little Leanna. This petite, Easter-egg-bright book would add a sweet-spirited and affecting touch to a holiday basket. All ages. (Apr.)