cover image Every Monday in the Mailbox

Every Monday in the Mailbox

Louisa Fox. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8028-5111-6

When Mrs. Wilcox moves to a nursing home, she promises her next-door neighbor Melinda a letter every Monday. The girl treasures her correspondence and draws a picture of her pet, Fat-Cat, to send Mrs. Wilcox. But the elderly lady dies before Melinda mails it, and the girl is grief-stricken (``[the news] stung much deeper than the bee sting she got last summer in Mrs. Wilcox's garden''). In time Melinda devises a plan that she hopes will begin a new friendship-and continue her Monday surprises. First-time author Fox's take on the pain of losing older friends might benefit youngsters who have experienced a similar loss. But her prose frequently lapses into melodrama, and several of Melinda's reactions and ideas seem too advanced for a child her age. Jones's (Make a Wish, Molly) generally realistic watercolors exhibit the same penchant for overdramatization. In addition, her characters' expressions are often ungainly and their positions stilted. Though it addresses a worthwhile topic, this effort seems a bit synthetic. Ages 4-8. (July)