cover image Down the Winding Road

Down the Winding Road

Angela Johnson. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2596-6

In this tender picture book, Johnson (Gone from Home; When I Am Old with You) and Evans (Osceola; Shaq and the Beanstalk) pay tribute to an enviable treasure: wise and loving family elders. Every summer a girl and her brother and father drive ""down the winding road"" to the country, for a visit with the Old Ones, the seven aunts and uncles who raised Daddy. The Old Ones serve up a day filled with hugs, stories, memories, good times and good food that always ends too soon. And once the kids are on their way back to the city, they already miss the relatives with ""creased faces and warm hands to hold."" Carefully and rhythmically structured, the story unfolds in spare, evocative phrases that convey the child narrator's affection and win the readers' admiration. Evans's breezy oil paintings, featuring crisp greens and yellows, skillfully capture the sunny skies--and gentle smiles--of a special day in the country. Evans easily shifts perspective from close-up to far away, showing his brightly clad folk strolling with ease through their familiar, bucolic surroundings. The Old Ones' faces, textured to look both leathery and soft, beam with love. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)