cover image Mama's Way: 5

Mama's Way: 5

Helen Ketteman. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2413-6

Ketteman's (I Remember Papa) tale of a girl whose reluctant generosity is rewarded may be predictable, but it is still uplifting. Wynona's sixth-grade graduation is coming up, but money is tight. So when her friend Sarah offers her a hand-me-down, Wynona is grateful--until she sees Sarah's brand-new dress, which Sarah has brought to Wynona's mother, a seamstress, to hem. ""I looked at the two dresses hanging together,"" says Wynona. ""Somehow, the old one didn't seem so pretty anymore."" Wynona turns sullen as she performs household chores and baby-sits her younger brothers, until her mother gives her money for the new dress Wynona has spied in a shop window. When one of her brother's breaks his wrist, Wynona sacrifices her dress money for the hospital bill. Ketteman credibly charts Wynona's growth, as she rises above self-centeredness into a sympathetic character. The author ably outlines both the friction and the underlying love between mother and daughter, while Whyte's expressive watercolor portraits add both softness and substance to the contemporary setting. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)