cover image You're My Nikki

You're My Nikki

Phyllis Rose Eisenberg. Dial Books, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1127-3

Mama's new job proves to be a source of anxiety for both parent and child. Nikki's fearful question, ``What if you forget me?' is met by her mother's reassurances that ``I'd know you if you were wearing two circus tents and sounded like a hoarse nanny goat.'' Not fully convinced, Nikki quizzes Mama on a list of her favorite things--a game familiar to both of them that always ends with ``you're my Nikki.'' Eisenberg's perky dialogue captures the pair's playfulness as Nikki tests the limits of her mother's love. But when a tough first day yields a tired, cranky mother too worn out to remember her youngest child's favorite anything, Nikki's fears are realized. While depicting the realities of a contemporary household--no father in evidence anywhere--both text and illustration convey a strong, enduring sense of family. Kastner's rich oil paintings, featuring colorfully clad figures against muted backgrounds, communicate a wide range of emotion--from a pouty child sulking under the covers to a joyful mother-daughter reunion dance at book's end. Ages 4-8. (May)