cover image Hue Boy

Hue Boy

Rita Phillips Mitchell, Adrian Mitchell. Dial Books, $13.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1448-9

Small for his age, Hue Boy takes a lot of ribbing from his classmates, and he's himself more than a little concerned about his size. He does his best to speed the growing process--eating all the good food his Mama fixes him, faithfully performing a routine of stretching exercises--but nothing changes: ``Hue Boy didn't grow one bit. He didn't grow at all, at all.'' A visit to a wise man doesn't help, and the doctor says he's perfectly healthy. Even village healer Miss Frangipani's herbal remedy is a bust. Then Hue Boy's dad arrives home on shore leave, and Hue Boy is so happy to see him he walks ``tall, with his head held high'' and no longer feels small. Mitchell's sympathetic story and fluid, lilting prose are a fitting springboard for Binch ( Amazing Grace ), whose supremely expressive watercolors make the most of the tale's Caribbean setting. Here, she dips her brush into a palette of lush, sun-drenched colors, and under her sure hand Hue Boy emerges as a character whose spunk and perseverance will steal readers' hearts. Ages 4-8. (May)