cover image Boundless Grace

Boundless Grace

Mary Hoffman. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1715-2

Irrepressible, plucky Grace charmed a multitude of readers when she debuted in Amazing Grace, defying the narrow-mindedness of her classmates to land the plum role of Peter Plan in the school play. In this more message-oriented sequel, Grace is older (her gap-toothed grin all filled in), but still brimming with stories and dreams. Here she must overcome her own preconceptions and fears to accept and find acceptance with her divorced and remarried father's ``other'' family in Africa. Traveling to The Gambia with her grandmother, Grace frets about the horrible stepmothers found in fairy tales and worries that her hosts won't need or love her (``They make a storybook family without me''). Unlike the first book, where the spunkiness of the heroine was the heart of the story, this tale revolves around the lesson that ``families are what you make them.'' Hoffman has once again imbued her story with an abundance of familial understanding. Binch's brilliant watercolors capture the colorful clothing and scenery of the African village; her snapshot-like portraits seem to radiate light. Despite the more predictable plot line, this volume is as assured and as uplifting as its predecessor. Ages 4-8. (May)