cover image Bernice Gets Carried Away

Bernice Gets Carried Away

Hannah E. Harrison. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3916-1

It isn’t the end of the world when you have a bad time at a birthday party—it just feels that way. The indignities suffered by a kitten named Bernice include getting the only piece of cake without an icing rose (“All she’d gotten was a plain white square from the middle”) and coming away from the piñata with “one lousy gumdrop... that someone had stepped on.” So when balloons are handed out, Bernice grabs the whole lot and floats away—discovering, as she ascends, that she is not the only one having a bad day (a mother bluebird gazes sadly at the photos of offspring who have left the nest) and that she has control over her little corner of the world, after all. Harrison obviously knows how the dynamics of a birthday party can loom large in a child’s life. As she did in Extraordinary Jane, she again cleverly juxtaposes an accomplished classical painting style with a contemporary sensibility, and her emotionally astute and elegantly understated story will strike a chord with any social animal. Ages 3–5. Agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (July)