cover image A Suitcase Surprise for Mommy

A Suitcase Surprise for Mommy

Cat Cora, illus. by Joy Allen, Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3332-9

It doesn't matter how carefully Zoran's mother has prepared him for her upcoming business trip to New York. "[H]e still did not like it. ‘No New York!' he said, and he meant it." But together, the pair hits on the ideal solution: Mommy takes with her a drawing that Zoran made in school. It's portable, easy to show off to colleagues, and can sit on Mommy's hotel nightstand so she can "have a part of you right next to me." Every kid with a parent who travels for business knows all too well the dilemma facing the characters in this story. So it's too bad that Cora, the Iron Chef, making her kid's lit debut, writes such cloying, stilted prose. Even the most earnest grownups will have trouble delivering lines like "Why is there a cloud over my bright little sunshine?" and "Yeah Mommy, I did it! I found the perfect something special!" Allen (Princess Party) has a better grasp of emotional authenticity in her gouache and pencil drawings, but for the most part it's sweetness ladled on top of treacle. Ages 3–5. (Mar.)