cover image A Piece of Home

A Piece of Home

Sonia Levitin. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1625-4

When Gregor's family emigrates to the United States from Russia, he is allowed to take one item. The ""piece of home"" he chooses is his baby blanket-a surprising choice for a school-age boy, and indicative of Gregor's anxiety. But his dicey choice only compounds his trepidation: Will his American cousin Elie think he is a baby for bringing a blanket? Levitin (Nine for California) tells this tale with great empathy, steering clear of sentimentality. Gregor's divided feelings ring true, as do those of his anxious and excited parents. Wijngaard's (Emma Bean) realistic watercolor renderings, perceptive and expressive, virtually tell the story on their own. He captures moments so clearly-Gregor's skeptical inspection of American airplane food, for example-that young readers will feel they are sharing these characters' experience. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)