cover image Sweet, Sweet Fig Banana

Sweet, Sweet Fig Banana

Phillis Gershator. Albert Whitman & Company, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-7693-9

Despite some appealing views of Caribbean customs, poor pacing and clumsy transitions mar Gershator's (Tukama Tootles the Flute) latest effort. A boy named Soto spends nine long months watching his banana tree grow and waiting for it to produce sweet fig bananas (""When the bananas gettin' yellow?"" he asks his mother). In an abrupt shift, Soto goes to the market and visits the fraico man, who sells shaved ice and fruit syrup, and the hat man, who weaves his wares before Soto's eyes. He pops into the local library, too, to look at picture books. Then Gershator returns to the bananas, which have ripened at last. Debut artist Millevoix may help sustain the reader's attention with his primitivist paintings. Color is all-important: impressionistic strokes of paint produce rainbow-tinted flower beds; purple and orange houses shimmer on the ocean's edge. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)