cover image A Koala for Katie: An Adoption Story

A Koala for Katie: An Adoption Story

Jonathan London. Albert Whitman & Company, $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-4209-5

This disquieting story aims straight at the preoccupations likely to visit adopted children. Katie, who thinks ``a lot'' about babies, wants to know if she grew in her ``real mommy's'' belly. ``Of course . . . '' her mother says. ``But I'm your real mommy, too.'' Later the youngster asks, ``Why didn't my first mommy want me?'' The adoptive mother assures the girl that her birth mother loved her: ``She wanted you to have a better life than she could give you''--a concept that few children Katie's age will be able to grasp. After a visit to the zoo, Katie ``adopts'' a toy koala from the gift shop and, in an excursion to Katie's imaginary world, the book shows her caring for the koala and protecting it from danger. Jabar's intimate, circular compositions reflect the warmth and love that abound in Katie's family while her light touch with her watercolors gives the book mainstream appeal. However, London (see below) focuses more on anxieties about biological vs. adoptive parents than on the love that motivated Katie's parents to extend their family in the first place. An insightful note to parents, by a social worker with the Northwest Adoption Exchange, precedes the story. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)